Note: Occasional Big Apple Buckets contributor Ray Floriani attended the game between Fairleigh Dickinson and Seton Hall. He had these thoughts afterwards.
NEWARK, NJ – Greg Herenda had a simple formula. Defend but try to avoid fouling. Rebound. Run the offense. “We did two pretty well,” the FDU coach said. Herenda was alluding to the first two points. The offense was not run to perfection, but it was enough to give the Knights a 58-54 victory over Seton Hall Sunday at the Prudential Center. For the second time in a week, FDU pulled off a major victory on the opposition’s home floor.
The 62-possession affair proved to be to FDU’s advantage. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard admitted pace was a factor and his team seemed to be “stuck in the mud and just watching on offense.” Efficiency saw FDU with a 94-87 edge. That certainly validated Willard’s claim of playing good defense but lacking on offense.
The offensive rebounding percentage was in FDU’s favor with a 36-32% margin. Sidney Sanders of the Knights led all rebounders with nine and scorers hitting 23. Fuquan Edwin led the Hall with 16. Matt McDonald, the notable first year players of ‘Rutgers fame’, scored one point going 0-5 from the floor. “That’s the life of a freshman,” Herenda said. “After Rutgers he’s on the back page of the New York Post, today he came up with a doughnut.”
Suddenly FDU is in the college hoops conversation. A 2-3 zone and patience on offense proved to be the key. As was the forcing of Seton Hall into 15 turnovers (a 24% TO rate). Another observation: Beating Rutgers on the road was difficult. This was even more of a challenge. Seton Hall is a better team than Rutgers at this point. A note of greater significance was that following the win in Piscataway, FDU was not about to sneak up on anyone. Seton Hall was ready and even Willard said, “We had three good days of practice and watched about four of FDU’s games (especially Rutgers) on tape.”
Seton Hall was ready. So was an FDU team that entered the Rock, not with designs of a moral victory, but an outright win they richly deserved and earned.