NEWARK — It’s rare to see a head coach visibly agitated about their team winning by 36 points, but that was the reality for Kevin Willard and his Seton Hall team today.
Based on body language alone, you would have thought that Willard’s team had lost the game.
But his posture and demeanor was actually projecting someone who had predicted — at least days prior — that his team would struggle, despite playing an opponent in Florida A&M that hasn’t taken down a high-major this millennia.
“I think that’s why I’m so pissed. We had a great crowd come out for a 12:00 game, and we kind of sleepwalked through 20 minutes of the game. Our kids play hard, they’re fun to watch, but you can’t come out and sleepwalk when people come out and watch it. It’s unacceptable,” said Willard when asked about an impressive turnout from fans.
Despite Myles Powell teasing his head coach to “cheer up” when Willard entered the media lounge, the team leader shared the sentiment.
“Everybody was out there sleepwalking and going through the motions. The team that we want to be– that’s just not acceptable. Yeah we won by 30-35 points, but we expect better out of us.
“Coach was emphasizing with us that’s how we practiced for the last week. He was just saying as the team that we want to be, that we’ve got to practice to get better and not just to get through it,” continued Powell.
“He said all week that’s all we’ve been doing, just trying to get through practice and get it over with. He said it shows today. [Despite] The score– I don’t feel as though we played our best basketball.
“I don’t want to say we were looking ahead, but like I said Coach was emphasizing with us this is how we practiced all week. He just knows us and he knew this was the type of game we were going to come out and have. As the leader of this group I feel as though I’ve got to get my guys better.”
While practice sounds like it was lackluster over the past six days since winning big at Saint Louis, it will be anything but that before the team heads to the Bahamas for an all-important Battle 4 Atlantis tournament next week.
Logistics are cramping the schedule a bit, but Seton Hall will be hitting the Walsh Gym practice court hard starting Sunday, which isn’t always the case on the day after a game.
When asked about Powell’s comment regarding a lack of intensity in practice since Saint Louis, Willard was stern.
“Oh, there WILL be more intensity in practice. There won’t be an option on that.”
Despite an intense practice correlating with a lackluster performance today, the team flies out Monday morning after an early practice, which puts more emphasis on the need to utilize Sunday.
“Coach just got finished telling us that we’ve got practice tomorrow. We have tape, everything,” said Powell.
“We’re going to be going full at it tomorrow and we’re definitely going to be ready to get out to the Bahamas and I’m sure you guys are going to see a whole different team than what you seen tonight.”