November 12, 2012 at 10:19 PM
NEWARK, NJ - The Seton Hall Pirates lost more than just a scorer and passer when point guard Jordan Theodore graduated last May.
Aside from the 17 points and six assists Theodore produced, he contributed veteran leadership that brought the Pirates within one win of an NCAA Tournament appearance.
During the Pirates 78-65 win over Norfolk State on Monday at the Prudential Center, it was a newcomer who took over as the team's vocal leader.
Graduate student-athelete and River Edge, NJ native Kyle Smyth, who transferred to Seton Hall after completing four years of basketball with Iona, including two under current Pirate head coach Kevin Willard, retained the on-court leader the Pirates lost with Theodore's departure.
"Not only does he shoot basketball, he does so many little things on the court," Willard said. "He makes the right rotations, he makes the extra pass. He played terrific."
Smyth contributed 14 points, including a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arch. At one point in the first half, the guard hit two threes in a span of 39 seconds. Smyth additionally dished out two assists.
He said his role on the team is not to score, but to make sure everything everything leading up to a shot is perfect.
"The shots and stuff are extra," he said. "Making sure that things are going well both offensively and defensively, talking, doing the little things, that is what should come first. Making shots is a bonus."
Playing along side sophomore guard Aaron Cosby, who made his season debut after injuring his knee during preseason workouts, Smyth provided a familiar partner on the floor so much so that Willard made a complete line change to get the two of them on the floor together.
"Aaron Cosby had practiced with that lineup for the week," I wanted to make sure he was as comfortable as possible coming back off a knee injure I put the fire guys he was practicing with, who he was comfortable with."
Aside from Smyth's 14 points and Cosby's eight, junior forward and Paterson native Fuquan Edwin scored a game-high 23 points.
With the victory over Norfolk State, the Pirates improved to 2-0 on the season. The schedule gets tougher from here, as Seton Hall will travel to Connecticut for the rest of the 2012 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Pirates face Washington on Saturday, then either Ohio State or the University of Rhode Island on Sunday.
"We're just going to have to do what we've done these first two games and bring it defensively, first off," Smyth said. "We have to continue to rebound. We know its going to be a fight up there, but right now all we are worried about is Washington, that first game and go on from there."
Tipoff for the game against Washington on Saturday from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.