NEWARK – When struggling from beyond the arc, who better to get you out of your slump than your 6-8 and 6-9 forwards?
Sure, it’s unorthodox, but for a team that entered the game shooting 3 of 29 from three at home through two games, Seton Hall would take a three ball wherever they could get it. Even if it was a bit unconventional.
But both the head coach and players weren’t surprised that it was the front court that got the team out of the rut, hitting the first three three-pointers in a 63-54 victory over St. Peter's College.
“A 6-foot-9 white guy better be able to shoot the basketball because they can’t do much else,” head coach Kevin Willard said of Patrik Auda’s three. “And Herb works hard at his shot. When Herb takes a good one, he’s going to make shots. It’s a matter of getting him away from the ones where he feels like he needs to jack them up.”
Jordan Theodore (13 points, 10 assists) reiterated his coach more concisely.
“Definitely [I thought those two could get us out of the slump]” the 6’0” senior guard said. “Pope’s just been working on his shot and Patrik’s just a great shooter.
Willard joked after the last game that Martin Brodeur stops everything in the Prudential Center, so maybe he’s been playing goalie on their basket. So maybe the Devils net-minder took the night off after playing a game this afternoon.
“The Devils lost,” Willard joked when talking about the improvement in threes. “That’s the first thing I ask when I get in the building now. How’d Martin [Brodeur] play?”
Or maybe the Pirates got out of their early season slump, going 8-22 from three (and 6-14 in the first half).
Either way — and let’s go with the latter — Seton Hall (5-1) can put to rest their struggles from three at home to rest. At least for now.
Sure they took 22 three-pointers — which may be seen as too many — but isn’t the old adage to get out of a shooting slump, a shooter's got to shoot?
And according to Willard, they should be taking more.
“I’d actually like to take more to be honest with you. I really would,” Willard said. “You got to be able to shoot the basketball to win games in college. You really do… I’d like to take 25 a game — if we could ever get there. Our pace isn’t fast enough to do it.”
While taking that many threes may seem like too much — especially for a team that’s not known to have sharp shooters from deep per se — that’s been Willard’s M-O.
And tonight’s performance may have given them the reassurance they need moving forward.
"Confidence," Theodore said that was the difference tonight. “We’re not going to stop shooting. It’s in our system. Coach likes us to shoot the three and it’s not going to stop. You can’t control the ball. Sometimes it’s going to fall, sometimes it’s not. Tonight they were falling.”