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Seton Hall played 'their best game of the season' against Xavier

The Seton Hall Pirates got back into the win column in an impressive manner with a win over Xavier on Friday.

Seton Hall guard Ka-Deidre Simmons setting up the offense against Xavier.
Seton Hall guard Ka-Deidre Simmons setting up the offense against Xavier.
Photo by Ray Floriani.

South Orange, NJ - The Prates defeated Xavier 78-54 at Walsh Gym on Friday. Xavier trailed by 6 at the half and got it to a one possession game early the second half. At that juncture the Pirate defense took over allowing for a strong second half. Three key observations of note:

1. The Pirates bounced back from a loss at St. John's last Friday, a game Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella called "our worst performance of the season, a week later the Pirates played, "our best game of the season," per the Hall mentor. Seton Hall showed admirable resiliency and maturity in bouncing back from that setback in Queens a week ago.

2. The Pirates enjoyed significant contributions on both ends. On offense the Hall had five players in double figures, led by Ka-Deidre Simmons' 19 points. On the defensive end, they held Xavier to a  71 efficiency. They forced 22 turnovers (29% TO rate) and simply disrupted the Xavier offense. It was the best of both worlds as Seton Hall was effective, actually outstanding, offensively and defensively.

3. Contributions are coming from other players. Ka-Deidre Simmons, Daisha Simmons and Tabatha Richardson-Smith are well known by opponents. As of late Janee Johnson and Tiffany Jones have emerged as factors. Johnson, a 6-foot-1 forward, has the strength to play inside and the touch to hit from the perimeter. She scored 13 points (3 of 5 beyond the arc) while adding 4 steals.

Jones is a player Bozzella feels can be special.

"She (Jones) is only at one quarter of the way to where she can be," he said.  The Junior forward scored 13 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and blocked 4 shots b in 21 minutes of action.

Seton Hall is 3-1 in conference. Xavier dropped to 3-2 in Big East play. The Musketeers were led by Maleeka Kynard with 14  points.

Seton Hall had 75 possessions. A ‘NASCAR' paced tempo and one off significance.

"The only team to beat us at that pace was West Virginia," Bozzella said. "When we force the pace like that we are very difficult to beat."