Al-Amir Dawes answers call in romp of Wagner

NEWARK – For three seasons, Al-Amir Dawes was a solid guard for Clemson’s basketball team. The Newark native played good defense and shot the 3-ball well, but it seemed like he had more to give, a gear that wasn’t quite tapped.

In one of his first acts, Seton Hall Coach Shaheen Holloway brought Dawes home with an eye toward unlocking the Patrick School grad’s potential, which was on full display Sunday.

Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time as a Pirate, Dawes responded by chalking up 19 points, four rebounds and three steals as the Hall pummeled Wagner 82-44 before a crowd of 5,000 at the Prudential Center.

“It doesn’t faze me whether I come off the bench or start; I’m going to get the job done when I’m out there,” he said. “But for my first start as a Pirate, it felt good.”

Seton Hall's Al-Amir Dawes goes for a layup against Wagner

Dawes shot 7-of-10 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Perhaps more important, he set a tone with three steals in the first four minutes as Seton Hall improved to 3-1, shaking off Wednesday’s 16-point home loss to Iowa.

“I’m always a defensive-first guy, so to be able to go out and get those steals was good,” he said.

Holloway has known Dawes since the latter was knee-high. He knows what makes Dawes tick, and on Sunday he pushed the right button.

“I need my guys to play with some juice,” Holloway said. “We’re not playing with enough juice. That’s very hard for me, because I’m not used to that. So I wanted to switch things up, to see how certain guys took certain things.”

Seton Hall Pirates guard Femi Odukale (21) drives past Wagner Seahawks forward Keyontae Lewis (32) in the first half at Prudential Center.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS

1. A changeup for Femi Odukale

In practice this week Holloway gave junior guard Femi Odukale his own team to run, instead of practicing him with the other starters. The Pitt transfer responded with a rock-solid effort Sunday, tallying 11 points, five rebounds and two steals.

“I think he’s still finding his way with him and Kooks (Kadary Richmond) in the backcourt and Al,” Holloway said. “He’s so used to having the ball in his hands, so the last two days I put the ball in his hands and let him create. I think he played with tremendous poise and confidence today, but he was like that the last two days in practice. They set the tone in the second half, diving on the floor for a ball, and from there we went on a nice little run.”

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