By Josh Adams
NEWARK, NJ- Christmas came early for Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden as the two Seton Hall players set career highs in points as the Pirates ended 2020 with a win over Georgetown, 78-67.
Cale had 30 points to pace the Pirates while Rhoden tied a career high in points with 26 and set a career high in rebounding with 12 boards.
There was very little drama in the contest as Seton Hall led for all but 10 seconds of the entire game. Ike Obiagu was a problem for the Hoyas in the first half as the 7’2” center registered seven blocks in the first half as the Pirates defense limited the Hoyas to 19 first half points.
The second half saw both Cale and Rhoden hit shot after shot as the two could not be stopped by the Hoyas defense. “This is a program that you get better at through the years”, said Cale “I had the hot hand early in the game and we came through today.”
Rhoden was equally as dominant as Cale and hit consistently from both the three point line and from just inside the arc. “The gameplan was for them to play our type of game”, said Rhoden after the game. “ Our confidence level is very high.”
This was an odd game in which Sandro Mamukelashvili was not involved in the offense at all. Seton Hall’s leading scorer only had two points on Wednesday and was a non-factor on the offense. “Sandro is our workhorse.”, said Kevin Willard after the game, “He frankly was checked out of tonight’s game. This break coming up is a good opportunity for him to get mentally ready for the rest of the season.”
As Seton Hall goes on a much needed break there is much reason for optimisim in 2021. Without their leading scorer contributing to today’s win they led almost buzzer to buzzer over a Big East opponent. With Cale and Rhoden playing with high confidence and after a ten game stretch in 28 days the team will get two gifts under their Christmas tree on Thursday. They’ll be healthy and confident as conference play starts back up in January. As we all bid farewell to 2020, health and confidence in the near future are the best gifts we can give ourselves.
– This is one of the few years that Seton Hall has gone into the second half of a Big East Conference season without any major injuries. It’s a credit to Tony Testa and the sports medicine department of the school. With Bryce Aiken back at almost 100% any lingering injury worries have been put to rest.
– This game may not be remembered as a great game but it could prove to be important down the stretch as the Pirates proved they could score without a significant contribution by Mamukelashvili. As good as last years team was, they relied on Myles Powell way to often to make the shots and when he was off, there was no one stepping up. This years team may not have the talent level of last years but they could be a better “team” as proven today with Cale and Rhoden picking up the slack with scoring.
– Obiagu has the same kind of intimidation factor Romaro Gill had last season. Even when he’s not around the hoop, the threat of him has defenders doing unnecessary pump fakes and quick shots. The Hoyas were seeing his ghost around the hoop in the first half and there’s not to many teams in college basketball with a true shotblocker like Obiagu.
– After not attending the last two games, I’ll be back in the saddle at the Prudential Center in January. I wish all of my readers a very happy holiday and stay healthy and optimisitc as we go into 2021 and beyond. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for reading.