Pirates close out regular season in Providence

The Seton Hall Pirates look to finish five hundred in Big East play in their regular season finale at Providence Saturday afternoon. Providence arguably has the best home court in the Big East. The Friars were undefeated at home this season, until dropping their most recent home game to Xavier. A tough task gets more difficult for Seton Hall, as the Friars look to avenge home court and secure a third place finish in the Big East.

Seton Hall opened Big East play this season with a 71-67 home loss to Providence in the middle of December. The Pirates took a nine-point lead into halftime. In what was a back and forth second half, Seton Hall was ultimately sunk late by the Friars.

Foul shooting, which has been a major issue for the Pirates plagued Seton Hall late in this game. Providence outperformed Seton Hall in numerous categories. The Friars held an edge over the Pirates in assists, rebounds, field goal percentage, three-point shooting percentage and foul shooting percentage. Defensively, the Friars stifled Seton Hall with 10 steals and seven blocks.

Big East all league first team performer Bryce Hopkins led the Friars with twenty-four points. The Kentucky transfer is in the running for the Big East Player of the Year award, which will be announced at Madison Square Garden this week. The Friars also got a major offensive contribution from forward Ed Croswell, who poured in 21 points. The Providence front court dominated the Pirates in this narrow victory.

The Pirates were led by Kadary Richmond, who scored 28 points on 10/16 from the field. The only other Pirate who scored in double figures was KC Ndefo, who finished with 11 points. With Richmond likely out, the Pirates are going to rely on a balanced scoring effort to replace Richmond’s 28 points.

Femi Odukale is coming off of his best game as a Pirate. The Pittsburgh transfer had a double double against Villanova on Tuesday, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Odukale, who shot 60 percent from the field in that game, also had six assists.

The Pirates will need to get scoring from Al-Amir Dawes, Tyrese Samuel and Dre Davis. Dawes has been the team's best three-point shooter and is coming off of a 21-point game. Samuel has been the anchor of Seton Hall's front court all season, averaging a career-high 11 points a game. Dre Davis provides the scoring spark off of the bench for the Pirates. To play with the friars offensively the Pirates will need all hands on deck.

Defensively, the Pirates who are thin up front, will need to slow down the Providence front court of Bryce Hopkins and Ed Croswell. The two combined for 45 points in the first meeting. The Pirates will need to make it difficult for them to get the ball in the post. Look for the Pirates to provide heavy ball pressure in an attempt to keep the Providence guards from getting the ball to their big men.

The Friars still have a lot at stake in this matchup. They are playing for the number three seed in the Big East Tournament. Seton Hall is locked into the seven seed already, and play DePaul Wednesday night. The Pirates who have not won a game since Kadary Richmond has gone down with a back injury, go into the best home court advantage in league play. Can Seton Hall pull off what feels like a nearly impossible task? We will find out Saturday afternoon.