NEWARK – It’s tempting to overreact to college basketball exhibitions, but one thing can be said with certainty off of Seton Hall’s 68-60 win at NJIT Saturday: Pirate standout Kadary Richmond gave everyone their money’s worth.
The senior point guard accumulated a remarkable stat line of 24 points, nine rebounds, and six assists while shooting 9-of-10 from the field. Richmond controlled the action and exhibited excellent passing skills, which easily could have resulted in at least 15 assists.
Senior wing Dre Davis (19 points, 7 rebounds) and postgrad guard Al-Amir Dawes (13 points) were also key contributors for the Pirates, who overcame a 10-point deficit and ultimately pulled away from the determined Highlanders in the final few minutes.
1. Take exhibitions in stride
Resist the temptation to draw sweeping conclusions from an October exhibition. Coaches often experiment during these games and may not reveal their full strategies.
For example, Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway deviated from his typical starting lineup of Richmond, Davis, Dawes, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Jaden Bediako, opting instead for an unconventional lineup featuring Dawes at the point along with subs Jaquan Sanders, freshman Elijah Coleman, Sadraque Nganga, and freshman Arda Ozdogan. It’s worth noting that freshman forward David Tubek, expected to be in the rotation, is currently sidelined due to an undisclosed injury.
On the NJIT side, guard Elijah Buchanan, who recently scored 25 points in a scrimmage against Marist, exited the game early in the first half due to injury but could have returned had it been a regular season game.
2. NJIT executed superbly on offense
Despite being projected to finish last in the America East Conference, the Highlanders showcased impressive cohesion and offensive prowess. Their motion offense displayed effective screening, spacing, and ball movement, causing problems for Seton Hall in the first half.
NJIT shot an impressive 7-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half, converting clean looks to take a 38-33 lead at halftime. Postgrad guard Adam Hess led the charge with 16 points, while freshmen guards Tariq Francis (11 points, 4 assists) and Jake Goldberg (12 points) also made significant contributions. Senior guard Mekhi Gray, with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, energized the crowd with a spectacular block on Dawes in the open court.
Seton Hall’s defense improved in the second half, particularly as Addae-Wusu contained Hess.
Overall, NJIT’s performance dispelled any notion that they are a last-place team; they exhibited great promise on both ends of the court.
3. Seton Hall’s bigs and bench faced challenges
Bediako encountered foul trouble early in both halves, accumulating four fouls within the first four minutes of the game and two more within the first two minutes of the second half. His backup, Elijah Hutchins-Everett, also struggled with fouls, accumulating four before the 12-minute mark of the second half.
Together, Bediako and Hutchins-Everett contributed eight fouls and only three rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
NJIT’s postgrad forward Kjell de Graaf, standing at 6-foot-10 and weighing 230 pounds, consistently outperformed Hall’s big men, recording 5 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and earning 5 fouls. Seton Hall actually appeared more effective when playing with a smaller lineup that featured Davis, a 6-foot-6 wing, defending the paint. However, it’s important to note that this strategy may not be optimal in Big East competition.
In terms of scoring contributions from the bench, NJIT outshined Seton Hall by a significant margin of 23-1. Sanders, Coleman, and NgaNga struggled with their shooting, combining for a disappointing 0-for-11, including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
4. Kadary Richmond’s standout performance
The Hall’s star guard clearly stood out among all the players on the court. In addition to his impressive stat line, Richmond showcased exceptional passing ability, which could have resulted in even more assists if his teammates had shot the ball better. He also displayed excellent shot selection, contributed on the defensive glass, and exuded confidence and control throughout the game.
5. Embrace the excitement of October hoops
The prevalence of charity exhibitions in college basketball, replacing one of
Laura Davis covers the world of basketball with precision. Her articles explore NBA and college basketball, offering game analysis, player profiles, and highlights. Laura’s passion for hoops is evident in her comprehensive basketball coverage.