Jamir Harris, Shaheen Holloway, Tyrese Samuel, Seton Hall Pirates

It was ugly for the most part, but the Seton Hall Pirates brought home dub number one for Shaheen Holloway.

I’m sure most Seton Hall Pirates fans dreamt of a much more offensive showing in Shaheen Holloway‘s first victory as head coach. But a win is a win and the Pirates did that on Wednesday, topping in-state rival Monmouth, 79-52.

As expected, Holloway spread out minutes across the rotation. Tray Jackson was the leading scorer for Seton Hall, finishing with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Tyrese Samuel was the lone starter to score in double figures, ending up with 11 points. Freshman Tae Davis offered the most complete stat line, going for 11 points and 8 rebounds. Clemson transfer Al-Amir Dawes struggled with his shot, but also added 10 points.

As a team, the Pirates came away with a dozen steals. Monmouth turned the ball over 23 times. But SHU had their own woes taking care of the ball, coughing it up 20 times. Seton Hall was also abysmal from the free throw line, going just 23-of-39 for 59%.

Takeaway #1: Shaheen Holloway’s defense is going to cause trouble for other teams

While the game was very sporadic and chippy in nature, a lot of it can still be attributed to Holloway’s defense. Pirates players continuously swiped at ball-handlers and double-teamed Monmouth Hawks, in turn creating transition buckets.

Seven different Seton Hall Pirates came up with steals, including all five players in the starting lineup (Samuel, KC Ndefo, Kadary Richmond, Femi Odukale, and Jamir Harris).

But what stood out aside from the box score was Holloway’s passion on the sidelines. This is nothing new to Seton Hall fans, but it is a change in style from the relaxed Kevin Willard. If you can say one thing for certain about Holloway, it’s that his players respond to the effort he demands.

Takeaway #2: Sloppy play needs to be fixed quickly

The nature of a fast game can often lead to more turnovers. Holloway’s system of positionless basketball also showed that his rotation still needs to be solidified. And as Shaheen mentioned in the offseason, Seton Hall hadn’t even been able to fully scrimmage due to multiple injuries that have Alexis Yetna, Jaquan Harris, and Abdou Ndiaye all sidelined.

But no amount of excuses should still lead to 20 turnovers against a Monmouth Hawks team that didn’t match Seton Hall’s defensive tactics.

Obviously, Seton Hall is a while away from Big East play. But the Pirates play a daunting non-conference schedule in November and into the early part of December. Teams like Iowa, Memphis, and Kansas will feast on turnovers as the Pirates did against Monmouth. It will be important to limit the carelessness on offense if SHU wants to take home a few NCAA Tournament resume-boosting wins.

Takeaway #3: Who will be the backup point guard?

One legitimate concern? Point guard play. It’s a Seton Hall Pirates team with an endless amount of guards, but only Kadary Richmond is a true point guard. Don’t get me wrong – Richmond is great at his craft and one of the top PGs in the Big East. But he can’t be expected to play 40 minutes every game, and when foul trouble comes into play like it did last night, someone else has to take over.

Right now, I see two possibilities. Jamir Harris plays very under control on offense, and could certainly manage running the point while Richmond is on the bench. In fact, Harris led all Pirates with three assists on Wednesday.

Off the bench, Al-Amir Dawes brings a quick burst to the backcourt – which could offset Richmond’s style of breaking down the defender.

Both Dawes and Harris are better off the ball, but will likely need to step up. Holloway’s positionless basketball seems to work wonders on the defensive end. Offensively, there were some challenges, but there were also bright spots. But a lot of the lack of fluidity can be attributed to having only one true point guard.

The biggest thing to remember? It’s still only November.

Next game for the Seton Hall Pirates: Nov. 12 vs. Saint Peter’s