The Fanta Report: What We Learned From the First Saturday of Big East Play

Doug McDermott/nj.com

Creighton 79 Seton Hall 66

It was just another day in the office for Doug McDermott. The senior All-American came right out and scored 13 of Creighton’s first 15 points. He was having one of those days, and all the Seton Hall Pirates could do was watch. Head coach Kevin Willard made adjustments to get the Pirates within 12 as the second half was beginning to wind down, but that’s the closest that the Pirates would get. The Bluejays earned their 11th win by a double-digit margin with a 79-66 victory over now 10-4 Seton Hall.

 What to Take Away: When McDermott’s as hot as he was today, there’s no stopping him. The Pirates also missed center Gene Teague to stand in front of attempted lay-ups that normally would not come easy. Senior guard Fuquan Edwin just could not find anything, and it’s showing that he is not as healthy as he has been before. Willard said that Edwin is not 100% in his press conference, but it shows that the Pirates’ woeful train of injuries is continuing to be tough for this team. SHU did not go away. Creighton was clearly the better team, with Manigat scoring 14, Grant Gibbs scoring 12, and Brooks with 11. Those three others just had to have a solid day with the superstar on the floor. The Pirates did not lie down, and I give them a lot of credit because it could very well come to help them in the future. But tonight, Greg McDermott’s team was not going to be stopped. The best perimeter shooting team in the country showed up. Not many Big East opponents will beat them when that happens. It’s just another lesson learned for 10-4 Seton Hall heading into Wednesday’s showdown against #11 Villanova.

Tweet of the Weekend: Seton Hall’s Brian Oliver (@BO_TheGod) said it on Saturday night when talking of McDermott. “Straight up, @dougmcd3 is a problem plain and simple, he gets it done, and his team knows where to find him. He's got the PERF situation.”

 Around the Big East

 St. John’s still has a lot of work to do, and Georgetown poses one of the best defensive challenges in the conference. The Red Storm shot 6-of-28 in the first half against the Hoyas, leading to a 77-60 rout for the Hoyas. The performer of the day in the conference even beyond McDermott’s great performance was the Hoyas D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. The sophomore guard shot 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and 9-of-12 from the field. He finished with 31 points, and get this. Smith-Rivera is only the second Hoya ever to compile multiple 30-point games. The only other is Austin Freeman. The Hoyas led 42-16 at halftime. That speaks for itself. Right now, the Red Storm’s offense is completely out of sync. The good news? Steve Lavin’s team does have a full week before next Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest versus #11 Villanova. On top of that, St. John’s follows that game with DePaul, Providence, Dartmouth, and Seton Hall. The schedule does ease up, so don’t just put D’Angelo Harrison and the Red Storm to bed. It’s ugly right now, but it’s also early.

 Xavier and Butler are two teams that could finish in the top five in the conference and I wouldn't blink an eye. Although the Bulldogs are 0-2 in the conference, Brandon Miller’s group is 10-4 overall and with a forward like Khyle Marshall, I still really like this team. As for Chris Mack’s Musketeers, who took down Butler 79-68 on Saturday, this team’s versatility continues to catch my attention. Guard Semaj Christon had 20 to lead all scorers. But what I continue to love about Xavier is that they have a man down low that’s been amongst boys. Matt Stainbrook had 17 against Butler with seven boards, while going 7-of-12 from the field. He is the epitome of efficiency and Mack’s squad couldn’t have had a better start to conference play. On Thursday night at 9 p.m., the Musketeers welcome a Marquette team that has been under-performing. If Christon stays hot, I don’t see how Buzz Willliams’ group can win this game in Cincy.

by John Fanta, Seton Hall Reporter, @JohnFanta13