NEWARK — It wasn’t particularly impressive, but No. 13 Seton Hall ultimately took care of business, beating Florida A&M 87-51 in front of an impressive crowd at Prudential Center.Up against an undersized and over-matched Florida A&M, Seton Hall jumped out to a 19-9 start in a fast-paced game before a mid-game malaise set in.
Despite trailing by double digits for most of the first half, Florida A&M provoked a Seton Hall timeout at 33-19 and a 9-0 run from the Rattlers saw them within nine at 33-24 just before the half in front of a solid Prudential Center crowd.
Leading by 12 at the break, Seton Hall wasn’t able to hit their stride until a 17-3 run blew the game wide open, giving the hosts a 62-39 advantage with nine to play.
To A&M’s credit, their defense proved to be fairly disruptive between deflections and contested shots; Myles Powell grew visibly frustrated and was pleading with an official for a foul call before Seton Hall went on their game-ending run.
Ignore the final score for a season, this did not turn out to be the ideal tune-up game for Seton Hall. Florida A&M didn’t really have any post forwards and the Pirates weren’t really forced to exert maximum effort, so it’s tough to gauge what was gained from this game heading into a tough match-up with ranked Oregon in the Bahamas late on Wednesday night. One would have expected the team to come flying out of the halftime locker room, but that wasn’t really the case — it took close to 30 minutes for the team to look well-oiled.
Seton Hall really struggled to find their centers in the post. Sandro backed down a mismatched guard and Romaro Gill banked one off the glass in the opening minutes, but it was a bit head-scratching that theme didn’t continue. Florida A&M was fairly disruptive on the interior and deflected a ton of passes, but surely some of the blame lies with the Hall here.
The crowd — 9,656 strong — was impressive. It was always going to be a fraction of what we saw last week for Michigan State, but the students came out and the general public did well to fill the lower bowl to around 80-percent capacity. Opponent aside, this was still a solid crowd and something you’d see for weeknight early/late tips in Big East play in past seasons, let alone a low-major that hasn’t beaten a high-major since prior to the KenPom era (2001-02). Today’s turnout bodes well for future attendance this season; Seton Hall won’t be back at the Rock until Maryland on December 19th, nearly a month.
Sandro Mamukelashvili didn’t play the last 15~ minutes. The big man didn’t have a great first half before turning the ball over twice and missing a lay-up in the opening few minutes of the second half. He wouldn’t return to the court.