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The Seton Hall Pirates avoided the trap game after the big win over Rutgers and handled the Drexel Dragons 66-49 at home at Prudential Center in Newark Wednesday evening. This was their third straight win and the final out of conference matchup for the Pirates this season. Tray Jackson and Dre Davis led the Pirates in scoring with 12 points each and Amari Williams led the Dragons with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pirates set the tone early and Drexel struggled to score for most of the game, scoring only 16 points in the first half and shooting just under 27% from the field for the whole game. The Pirates struggled a bit on offense as well except for Jackson who had 10 points for the Pirates by halftime including two 3 pointers. Kadary Richmond ran along the baseline and hit a floater to put the Pirates up 26-14 with 6:30 left in the first half. Femi Odukale went down with a left ankle injury and was helped off the court around the three minute mark. This took the wind out of the sails of the Pirates for a bit, but they still went into halftime with a 31-16 lead.

In the second half the Pirates offense came to life for a bit while the Dragons continued to shoot bricks. Richmond had a steal and slam dunk to put the Pirates up 35-16 with 18:21 left. Al-Amir Dawes hit a 3 from the left corner and then the Davis brothers went off with Tae Davis feeding Dre for a layup and subsequent free throw after getting fouled to give the Pirates their biggest lead of the game at 49-18 with just under 13 minutes left. The teams traded baskets and then the Pirates went completely cold and slacked off on defense. Drexel went on a 26-6 run over the next 10 minutes including 8 straight points from Yame Butler to close the gap to 57-46 with three minutes left in the game. Dawes woke up the Pirates and the crowd with another corner 3 to stop the bleeding and Dre Davis followed with a dunk to send the Dragons home with a 66-49 loss.

In the postgame press conference, Pirates coach Shaheen Holloway was not pleased with the defensive effort slacking off for the last ten minutes of the game:
“I’m not very happy right now. If you want to be a good team, you can’t finish games like that. You have to be able to take the next step. I’m disappointed because we have a bunch of older guys but we’re still very immature. We gotta watch this and grow from it and get ready for Saturday.”
When asked about the positive takeaways from the game, Coach Holloway replied:
“Energy! We got to create our own energy…We play with the same passion we played with Sunday, and if we play with that the whole game I think we’ll be fine.”

Dre Davis said of his time being injured for the past two weeks: “It was good for me to be able to sit back and learn. Obviously watching my teammates I was able to learn a lot, and also being able to cheer my teammates on and see their success.” Kadary Richmond acknowledged his mistakes on defense: “I got a little sloppy in the second half off the ball for me personally, and I just got to get better with that.” When asked if he had a different mentality starting versus coming off the bench, he said only “I’m playing basketball either way so I’m just grateful.”

News and notes:
Stifling defense: This game marks the first time in the Big East era that Seton Hall has held opponents under 55 points in 6 of their first 11 games.
Jaquan Sanders and Femi Odukale both left the game with injuries in the first half. Sanders suffered a groin injury and Odukale went down with a left ankle injury. Coach Holloway said Femi was in a boot but did not elaborate further, just saying it was “the story of our season so far.”
Seton Hall finishes the non-conference portion of their schedule at 7-4 and will play Providence at home at 12:30pm on Saturday on FOX to open up their Big East schedule. Drexel falls to 5-6 on the season and plays Delaware State next on Saturday at home at 2pm.

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