by Josh Adams, @NCAAHoopsDigest
South Orange, NJ— Sometimes, a game is more than a game.
Over 1,800 fans showed up at Walsh Gym in South Orange, NJ on Thursday to contribute $25,000 to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. They did it by buying tickets to a scrimmige to see the nationally ranked home Seton Hall Pirates play the LaSalle Explorers in a Big East vs. Atlantic 10 matchup. Using a smothering defense in the first half, the Pirates gave the Explorers offense fits as Seton Hall converted turnover after turnover into easy layups. Sophomore Myles Powell was the catalyst on defense for the Pirates and at one point committed three steals in a row on a hapless LaSalle offense that led to easy fast break points punctuaed with a breakaway slam dunk by Powell. Pirates Coach Kevin Willard went deep into his bench early to give his young players some game experience but it was tough to take out senior Desi Rodriguez who scored almost at will for the Pirates as they boosted their lead to 44-24 with 2:47 left in the first half.
The Seton Hall offense went cold at the end of the first half but they didn’t let up on defense and went into the locker room with a 44-27 advantage at the half. Rodriguez had 15 points after the opening stanza.
Give LaSalle credit, they got themselves back into the game after halftime. Led by Amar Stukes, the Explorers closed the gap with solid defense and turned the Pirates lead into single digits at the seven minute mark of the second half. Willard called a quick timeout and put the starters back in for the Pirates. With that move, Seton Hall quickly jacked the lead back up to double digits as Powell converted a three pointer.
The ending was never in doubt as Rodriguez paced the Pirates with 22 points. Khadeen Carrington had 11 points, while Powell and Michael Nzei had 10 points each.
Stukes had 19 points to pace the Explorers and B.J. Johnson had 14 points for LaSalle.
The Pirates open up the season at home on November 10th. It’s going to be a fun season folks, get your tickets to see this team.