No. 20 Seton Hall hopes to be at full strength vs. DePaul
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No. 20 Seton Hall is hoping to have its full complement of players for a full game for the first time in almost two months when it visits DePaul on Thursday in Chicago.
The Pirates (11-3, 2-2 Big East) expect to have the services of forward Alexis Yetna, who sat out the team's 90-87 overtime victory against UConn on Saturday after taking an errant pass off his head in practice. That game marked the return of 6-foot-10 Tyrese Samuel, who scored seven points in 18 minutes after missing three games because of COVID protocol.
Prior to that, 7-2 shot-blocker Ike Obiagu had returned after sitting out three contests. He had missed one game because of an ankle injury and two more because of COVID.
Seton Hall's defensive stopper on the perimeter, Myles Cale, sustained a groin injury against Ohio State on Nov. 22.
It could be the first time Seton Hall has its full lineup for a full game since a 67-65 win at Michigan on Nov. 16.
"We were 9-1 before we got shut down (because of COVID issues)," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said after the win over the Huskies. "We beat Texas, beat Rutgers, lost to Ohio State at the buzzer, won at Michigan, so I like this basketball team."
He added that the key will be "if we can get back in a rhythm, which we're not yet."
Still, the increased depth with the expected return of Yetna should help the Pirates against DePaul (9-6, 0-5), which has faded in the second half of each of its past two games. The Blue Demons squandered a five-point lead at halftime in a 79-64 setback to Villanova on Saturday and saw a one-point advantage at intermission erased in an 87-76 loss to Marquette on Tuesday.
"We scored enough points to win the game," DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said after the loss to Marquette. "I thought our guys did a great job of sharing the basketball (and) playing unselfishly. But you can't give up 87 points and win in the Big East, and until we take pride in defending and getting stops, we're going to have a lot of results like this.
"We've got to do a better job of following the scouting report," he added.
Freshman Ahamad Bynum wasn't immediately cleared by the NCAA, and Kansas transfer Tyon Grant-Foster sustained an undisclosed medical emergency during the season opener. Both since have redshirted, shortening Stubblefield's planned rotation. But he isn't using that as an excuse for the second-half woes.
"It's just a matter of being focused, locked in and playing with great toughness defensively," he said.
Kadary Richmond averages only 8.4 points for Seton Hall, but he had a breakthrough game with 27 points against the Huskies.
Bryce Aiken (12.9 points, 2.8 assists) has recorded seven assists in each of the past two games.
Javon Freeman-Liberty (21.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists) often is a one-man show for DePaul, but David Jones (14.9 points) and Brandon Johnson (11.0) also have chipped in.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 12, 2022