No. 25 Seton Hall will host Division II Nyack College on campus in South Orange, N.J., on Saturday as one final tune-up before a challenging stretch in the Pirates' schedule begins.
Seton Hall (6-1) turned on the jets in the second half Wednesday to run away from Wagner, 85-63. The Pirates started utilizing a press defense after intermission and outscored the Seahawks 50-30 in the second half to ensure a victory.
"I know if we pressed early in the games and got after it, we'd probably be hitting a better rhythm offensively, but that's not what these games are for," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "I really want to work on stuff and try to work on certain defensive concepts. ... It's just a matter of, are we getting better? Are we helping each other?"
Jared Rhoden led Seton Hall with a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double. His scoring average rose to 17.8 points per game, which ranks third in the Big East.
Kadary Richmond had his most productive night in a Pirates uniform since transferring from Syracuse earlier this year. He scored eight of his 10 points in the second half while tallying nine assists, six rebounds and four steals.
His up-court pass to Alexis Yetna for a thunderous dunk was one of the highlights of the game.
"It's a good feeling, man. It's a good feeling to play with a true point guard," Rhoden said of his teammate. "I know when I run the lane hard, he's gonna find me, so I have no doubt in my mind that I'm gonna get the ball back."
Three weeks into the season, Seton Hall is one of several competitive teams residing in the top half of the Big East standings. Its signature win thus far is a come-from-behind road victory at Michigan, then ranked fourth in the country.
The Pirates will host No. 7 Texas in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 9. The start of Big East play follows soon after, with another current top-10 team, Villanova, set to visit on New Year's Day.
Rhoden said Saturday's game will be important for the Pirates as they prep for the long haul.
"I think it's a good rhythm game for us," Rhoden said. "I think it's a time where we need to work on our offense, get the ball popping and moving, because we play Texas which is gonna be a really good test for us. I'm really looking forward to Saturday because I think Saturday's going to show us what we're gonna be like on the next game."
Nyack (2-4) hasn't played since Nov. 23, a 114-85 loss to Nova Southeastern -- a team that's now ranked No. 6 in Division II. The Warriors are not shying away from challenging competition: They will play another Division I team, Saint Peter's, on Dec. 12.
Isayas Aris carries Nyack with 18.3 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The Saturday game will be the Pirates' only contest at the on-campus Walsh Gymnasium this season.
--Field Level Media