Seton Hall basketball: Bryce Aiken turns the corner in stunning romp of Xavier
The question hung over Seton Hall basketball like a zeppelin, a season ready to skyrocket or crash with the action.
How great could this team be if Bryce Aiken finds his rightful gear?
The answer reverberated across the Big East Wednesday as the Pirates broke Xavier over a knee 85-68 in Cincinnati, one of the most remarkable wins of the Kevin Willard age.
Aiken, the Randolph native whose homecoming as a Harvard graduate move a cause for event in the spring, was the driver in a 15-0 spurt that broke things open at the end of the very first half. He ended up with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting with four rebounds and 3 helps off the bench
Seton Hall (7-4 general, 4-1 Big East) has actually won six of its past 7 video games and beaten Xavier (8-2, 1-2) 3 straight times on the road. The Mustketeers was available in 8-0 at home with a No. 20 ranking int the USA Today Top 25 and 26th in the Associated Press poll.
1. Outstanding defense
Xavier entered the video game shooting the lights out, especially in your home. After an unstable first eight minutes, Seton Hall’s perimeter defense completely shut the Musketeers down. The Pirates romped the host in every hustle stat– rebounds, points off turnovers, fast-break points.
2. The junkyard canine bit hard
Takal Molson ripped a chunk of flesh out of Xavier’s leg in the definitive last 8 minutes of the first half. He scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting and provided disruptive defense. The junior guard brings the vibe every group requires coming off the bench– energy and fearlessness.
3. Tyrese Samuel came alive
It’s been a battle for the sophomore forward, but this was his best shot by far. He tallied 10 points and six rebounds, played well defensively– which had actually been a problem– and shared the ball. The man has talent. If he ends up being consistent, keep an eye out.
4. Road warriors
After going 8-2 on the Big East road last season, the Pirates are 2-0 so far. We stated this from the beginning: No fans was going to injure other groups more than the Pirates. Teams like Xavier, who are used to having a bonkers home court, lose something. The Pirates don’t care where they play. An indication of maturity.
5. The pieces are coming together
For Seton Hall fans, the heartache of last season’s incomplete organization will be tough to overcome. But this is the first indication that these Pirates simply may have a similar ceiling. Less reliant on one player, more well balanced, deeper and seasoned– this is a guaranteed NCAA Competition group, and not a bubble squad either.
And Aiken is simply scratching the surface,
The Pirates play host to Butler (2-4, 1-2) Saturday (4:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1).
Jerry Carino has actually covered the New Jersey sports scene considering that 1996 and the college basketball beat considering that 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 citizen. Contact him at [email protected]