South Orange, NJ - Two days following the big win over nationally ranked Georgia, it was back to serious work. The Seton Hall Pirates, now ranked in the top 25 themselves, defeated Butler 70-65 at Walsh Gym on Tuesday. The Hall improved to 13-1 and 2-0 in the Big East. Butler fell to 4-9 (0-2 conference).
Three take aways
1. Winning a ‘trap' game. A little over 48 hours removed from a big win over nationally ranked Georgia, into Walsh Gym came Butler at 4-8. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella had full respect of Butler, a team he reminded, that swept the Hall a year ago.
Coming off the emotional win on Sunday and little preparation time there was a case of lethargic legs. To their credit, Seton Hall responded. It wasn't pretty but it did go into the ledger as a 'W'.
Bozzella also pointed out a year ago this would be the type game his club would lose. A year later -- more experienced and mature -- they took care of business.
2. An off night for Tabatha Richardson-Smith. With the smooth stroke and tendency to destroy defenses from beyond the arc, Richardson-Smith is a focal part of Seton Hall's attack. Against Butler she struggled scoring just nine points. The looks were there, the shots did not fall.
Responding to her off night scoring wise, the Hall still put four in double digits, paced by Daisha Simmons' 19 points. Ka-Deidre Simmons also added 17 for the Pirates. Having the ability to not have to rely on one primary scorer is a valuable commodity. Seton Hall proved again, they have it.
3. Butler was a test. The Bulldogs did come in 4-8. On the other side they had won three of their last four with the only blemish an overtime setback at the hands of Minnesota. The Bulldogs received a game high 20 points from sophomore guard Loryn Goodwin. Ijeoma Uchendu, a senior forward for Butler, pulled down an impressive game-high 20 rebounds. For the most part, they kept it a two possession game.
"Butler was well coached," Bozzella said. "They ran their sets and came in well prepared."
Not your typical 4-8 opponent.
Up next: St. John's
Next up for the pirates is another big conference test. Friday evening a date at Carnesecca Arena against a strong St. John's club. Bozzella pointed the short preparation is tough to deal with but needs to be handled.
"Throughout the Big East schedule we will be playing a Friday-Sunday format," he said. "We spent a lot of energy against Georgia and had to turn around quickly (to play Butler). It's something we need to get used to in conference."
Friday looms as a challenge and an interesting test, for both Seton Hall and St. John's.