At the halfway point of the Big East season, Seton Hall finds itself at .500 and in fifth place out of 11 teams.
The Pirates have struggled against the league’s best programs while handling business against weaker opponents.
Seton Hall will try to reestablish its winning ways when it visits struggling Butler on Saturday in Indianapolis.
The Pirates (12-9, 5-5 Big East) looked like a team on the rise when they rallied to beat then-No. 15 UConn 67-66 on Jan. 18 for their fourth consecutive win. But when another ranked opponent visited three days later, the Pirates were manhandled by Marquette for the second time this season, losing 74-53.
Coach Shaheen Holloway was brutally honest about his team’s inconsistency.
“They say that when you win, it’s on the players and when you lose, it’s on the coach, so this is on me,” Holloway told reporters. “I allowed us to practice like (expletive) the last two days, and that’s how we played. … We kind of got back down to earth. The guys got big-headed, we got humbled quick. That’s what happens when you get big-headed.”
The Pirates shot 45.9 percent from the field against Marquette but lost 26 turnovers, a season high. Only one player reached double figures in scoring, point guard Kadary Richmond (10 points).
Al-Amir Dawes leads the Pirates with 11.6 points per game and is making 40.2 percent of his 3-point shots. Richmond has put up 10.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest.
Butler (11-11, 3-8) has lost three straight and five of six. Of its eight Big East setbacks, seven have come by 20 points or more, including Wednesday’s 79-58 defeat at No. 23 Providence.
Eric Hunter Jr. led the Bulldogs with 12 points and Jayden Taylor had 10 off the bench, but they allowed the Friars to shoot 55.6 percent from the floor.
Butler coach Thad Matta said his team didn’t respond well coming out of halftime, with the Friars scoring at will early in the second half to put it away.
“They were able to get that quick start on us,” Matta told the Indianapolis Star. “When things don’t go well we’ve got to play harder and smarter.”
Manny Bates, who leads Butler with 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, returned from a three-game absence (knee injury) and scored six points against Providence.
Seton Hall also owns a lopsided win over Butler this season, a 76-51 decision Jan. 7 in Newark, N.J. Richmond came close to a triple-double that night, finishing with 11 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
–Field Level Media