Basketball is a simple game sometimes. You miss shots, you lose.
Seton Hall tossed up brick after brick at ninth-ranked Kansas Thursday and got run off the court 91-65 in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
The Pirates shot 4-of-19 from 3-point range and 19-of-32 from the free-throw line as they fell to 4-4, dropping their third straight game. They played the defending national champion without forwards Dre Davis (knee tendonitis, game-to-game) and Alexis Yetna (knee, out indefinitely).
Kansas (8-1) last faced the Hall in 2018, prevailing 83-79 in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32. That seems like a century ago.
1. The shot-making is abysmal.
The Pirates ran some good offense and got decent looks, but threw too many opportunities in the trash. In the first half their three best 3-point shooters – Al-Amir Dawes, Jamir Harris and Tray Jackson, all missed wide-open triples (Jackson missed two of them). At one point, early in the second half, they’d taken 22 free throws to Kansas’ 9 – a stunning differential at Allen Fieldhouse – but cashed in on just 11 of them.
Eventually, predictably, the wheels came off the defense. This is not a good-shooting team, but certain guys should be converting at higher rates than they are. Until that happens (if it happens), the Pirates are playing with one hand behind their back.
2. Kadary Richmond played better.
The one bright spot was the performance of the mercurial junior guard. After being benched during last weekend’s loss to Siena, Richmond played with an aggression that this team needs moving forward. He finished with 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and seven turnovers. That last number is obviously problematic, but against lesser competition, an attacking Richmond will be a big asset.
3. Is this team in trouble?
Too early to say that. College basketball is a sport with plenty of twists and turns. As we emphasized in the preview, there are going to be growing pains aplenty – for the players and for the coaching staff. Minus Davis and Yetna and against a team like Kansas in an environment like Allen Fieldhouse, those issues are magnified. The Pirates have a long way to go, but this season is about laying the foundation. So far, the fight hasn't been there when the opponent lands a punch. That's issue No. 1.
From Shaheen Holloway's postgame radio interview:
On Kadary Richmond: “Kooks came out and played aggressive, was good to see him do that. We knew he could be aggressive, so I want to make sure he stays aggressive. Good to see him play the way he’s capable of playing.”
On the defense: “Our pick-and-roll defense has to get better. That’s on me. I’ve go to do a better job with that. I’ve go to keep working with Tyrese (Samuel) on that but it’s tough. He’s playing a lot of minutes, we ask a lot of him. He’s our only true big guy we have right now.”
Big picture: “I think we’re going to be alright. It’s tough to say that after a loss like today, but I’ve seen some things that we could build on. I’ve seen some things I haven’t seen. We’re going to get it right, make no mistake about that.”
Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the college basketball beat since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 voter. Contact him at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Seton Hall basketball romped at Kansas as bricklaying continues