NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—The college basketball season is only two games old for Seton Hall, but it may well be that junior guard Fuquan Edwin is moving into the role of the Pirates’ go-to guy.
“Whatever I have to provide for the team, I’m willing to do, as long as it’s helping the team win,” said Edwin, who scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Seton Hall to a 78-65 victory over Norfolk State Monday night in the Naismith Memorial Tip-Off Tournament.
“I’m pretty comfortable with the role,” said Edwin, who scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, leading the Pirates (2-0) to their second straight win in the Tip-Off Tournament. “I just had to be more aggressive in the second half and find my way.”
The Pirates now move on to face Washington Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Eugene Teague added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Smyth scored 14 points off the bench. Brandon Mobley had 10 rebounds for Seton Hall.
Norfolk State (1-1), which defeated Rhode Island in the opening round of the tourney last Friday, got 20 points from Pendarvis Williams and 15 from Malcolm Hawkins.
The Spartans, who stunned second-seeded Missouri in the opening round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, led only once in the game. The Pirates used their size advantage to pull away in the second half.
“I think Teague established himself down low and it freed up others from the perimeter,” said Norfolk State head coach Anthony Evans said. “I also think they played good defense and kept switching up things on us.”
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard liked the way his team played defense, allowing the Spartans to shoot just 32 percent from the floor for the game.
“I’m pleased with the defensive effort, holding them to 32 percent,” Willard said. “But our effort on the offensive end, especially in the first half, was terrible. Our passes weren’t crisp and we weren’t getting good shots, until we started attacking the basket in the second half. Before that, we were much too lackadaisical.”
Seton Hall came out of the blocks strong and scored five of the first six points. Brian Oliver’s 3-pointer gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead with 18:31 left.
The Pirates held the lead for most of the first half and led by as many as six (18-12) on the second of two straight 3-pointers from Smyth.
“Smyth is the ultimate teammate who will be happy if he doesn’t score or scores 20,” Willard said. “He’s the kind of kid that every coach wants on his team.”