NEWARK, N.J. — Freshman guard Jaren Sina took care of the ball in his first start at point guard and senior swingman Fuquan Edwin continued to take the ball away at a record pace for Seton Hall.
Sina did not turn the ball over in his 35 minutes, producing 14 points, eight assists and three steals while Edwin made his return from an ankle injury with 14 points, eight steals and four assists in leading the Pirates past Eastern Washington, 92-70, on Sunday.
Edwin needs just 13 steals to break the Seton Hall career record of 260 set by Dan Callandrillo in 1982.
“The big tale of the story was that Fuquan Edwin was able to play,” Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford said. “He creates balance. Without him, they’re easier to guard because they don’t have that piece. We had no idea he would play.”
Edwin, who had missed the previous three games, entered the game early in the first half. He closed out the first half with his sixth steal, converting it into a fast-break dunk that gave the Pirates (8-4) a 38-36 edge it never relinquished.
“His presence has been greatly missed,” Eugene Teague said. “Just having him back out there helps us so much defensively and offensively.”
Sina, normally the two-guard, filled in for injured point guard Sterling Gibbs, who is expected to return soon from a knee injury.
“I thought I did a good job just finding guys,” Sina said. “I had a good time out there tonight, it was pretty fun. Fuqan, he’s a specialist on defense. He just helps us so much on transition. He’s a great player. You’re talking about our leader. He’s our go-to guy. When he’s missing, it’s tough. I’m used to playing point guard, so I was more comfortable out there playing the position.”
Brian Oliver and Teague each had 16 points to pace Seton Hall, which had six players score in double figures. The Pirates received 11 from Brandon Mobley and 10 from Haralds Karlis. Teague scored 15 of his 16 points and grabbed eight of his nine rebounds after the break.
Parker Kelly had 17 points and Tyler Harvey scored 16 for Eastern Washington (5-5) in the first-ever meeting between the schools.
Eastern Washington was hit with a double-technical foul with 4:50 left. After a review of the tape, the first was called on Drew Brandon for a push of Oliver and the second was called on Eagles coach Hayford. Oliver sank four consecutive free throws and then scored on a fast-break pass from Sina to give Seton Hall an 81-56 advantage.
The Pirates had opened a 69-52 lead with 9:39 left with a 10-3 run. Edwin’s fast-break dunk and a 3-pointer by Mobley highlighted the run.
“It felt good just to be on the floor,” Edwin said. “I didn’t have my first step on offense, but that will come in time. I think with my energy and my presence, it just makes the team go a little harder. It’s always good when I can lead the team in defense because right now I know we’re a great defensive team. But I’m striving to get everyone to have the same work ethic and energy I have on the defensive end.”
Seton Hall started the second half with an 11-5 burst that staked it to a 49-41 edge. Oliver and Mobley each scored two baskets in the spurt.
After Harvey interrupted with a 3-pointer for Eastern Washington, the Pirates reeled off eight straight with a free throw from Teague, two foul shots by Sina, a basket inside by Teague off a pass from Sina, and then a 3-pointer by Sina to make it 57-44 for the Hall with 13:06 to go.