South Orange, NJ. – The Seton Hall Pirates came into today’s game looking to hand the DePaul Blue Demons their first loss since Dec. 15th. DePaul has won six consecutive games, four of those against conference opponents in that stretch. With today’s 96-65 victory over Seton Hall, they move to 13-4 and continue to be undefeated in Big East play.
The Blue Demons set the stage early, putting up eight points before Seton Hall saw any of their own. But the Pirates did manage a rallying effort with back to back layups by Kaela Hilaire and JaQuan Jackson to get Seton Hall on the board and cut DePaul’s lead in half at 8-4.
That’s as close as the Pirates would get, however, as the Blue Demons extended their lead to 25 points, 60-35, at the half. They would go on to see their biggest lead of the game, at 40 points, later on in the fourth quarter.
At intermission Seton Hall was shooting 64.3%, so shooting wasn’t their problem today. They finished at 41%, which is above their 38.7% average for this season. Jackson, Hilaire, and LaTecia Smith were all able to get in double-digit figures on the scoreboard for the Pirates.
Intensity was missing today, according to Pirates head coach Anthony Bozzella.
“For us, it was a lot more defense,” said Coach Bozzella, “we just didn’t compete hard enough. We have to learn to compete a lot better than this.”
DePaul finished shooting 43.2% beyond the arc, much of that credited to Jacqui Grant, who went 5-9 and Tanita Allen who sunk five of her seven treys. Their three-point shooting was definitely needed as the Blue Demons have been without their best three-point shooter in Ashton Millender, who’s been out since Dec. 10.
Coach Doug Bruno explained, “we are a basketball team that shoots threes for the purpose of opening up the floor.”
As their schedule gets deeper into Big East competition, according to Coach Bruno, the defending 2016 regular season Big East Conference Champions need to focus on one game at a time.
“Just approach this as if we’re teeing off to play golf. You play 18 holes you play one hole 18 times …we play one game, we play one game 18 times.”
Next up on the “course” for DePaul will be St. John, who beat out Marquette today 70-64. Seton Hall will take on that defeated Marquette squad on Tuesday as they are home again.
Coach Bozzella finished the night elucidating, “We haven’t competed for three consecutive games.”
He is hoping this 31-point loss to the Blue Demons is enough to get through to his players that they need to bring the program back from this “low,” because he believes that it is up to the players at this point.
“At some point, you have to get it.”