Well, I spent an hour and half typing up a recap for the game and my laptop shut off, despite having 15% battery left. No drafts were saved. Thats kind of how I felt after the game tonight: stunned and dejected.
I'll spare you my attempt at a Pulitzer that was the game summary, and get straight to the good stuff...
The Offense: Its tough to sum up what the Pirates did wrong in a sentence, so I'll break it up.
- 1-on-1, Why did most of the offense (outside of the first 10 minutes) consist of individuals taking the ball to the hoop and taking contested, running shots? Its no coincidence that this offensive game plan coincided with the Pirates poor play for the final 30 minutes.
- Offensive sets. I may have selective memory, but a Jeff Robinson iso was called coming out of a crucial time out. C'mon coach. On that note, I didn't see many other set plays that worked. Very reminiscent of Gonzo's offensive sets, or lack thereof.
- The team shot horribly from the arc, save the last two minutes. Temple was able to shoot 2-12 because they made all of their running shots, and when they missed? They snatched up the offensive boards. Seton Hall was unable to do either.
The Defense: Not as bad as the offense. The press was mildly effective, although the Owls seemed to beat it consistently in the first half. Willard had the team drop into a 2-3 zone when some of the reserves were in. They also played a lot of man. Temple was dominant in the paint. Lavoy Allen, Michael Eric and Rahlil Jefferson were phenomenal. They made beautiful passes in the paint and finished more often than not when taking it to the tin, something Jeff Robinson, Herb Pope and Ferrakohn Hall all failed to do.
Overall: 29% from the field. 5-17 (29%) from 3PT. Out rebounded by 16 (13 offensive). Ouch. The box score doesn't lie tonight. Nor does it do justice to how badly the Pirates were outplayed.
Jamel Jackson - JJax proved he can make a few shots against a competent opponent. 8 points in 11 minutes (2-3 from 3PT).
Free Throw Shooting - The Pirates were 13-16 (81%) from the line. Nice and a definite improvement from last year's struggles.
Jeff Robinson - I hate to single out players, but Robinson was out played again. He was out rebounded a few times and man handled on defense. Frankly, on defense, he looked disinterested. NBA Draft? You've got to be kidding me. As usual, he took a few questionable shots. The Pirates need Jeff to step up and return to form that we saw in the second half of BIG EAST play last year.
Bench contribution: 3-of-17 from the field (17%) in 64 minutes. Ouch.
The box score - I've already mulled over the poor shooting and rebounding, but you can see for yourself, here: Box Score
The Liacouras Center - Section 207 was right at the entrance to the building, so I didn't explore. However, the facility looked great. Around 150+ Pirate faithful were able to make the trip tonight. A few "Lets Go Pirates" chants were made early in the first half, but there was nothing to cheer about from there on out.
Aaron Geramipoor - Not seen tonight, as expected. Still battling mononucleosis.
Anali Okoloji - The only player besides Gatling to not see the floor. I'm not even positive I saw Anali tonight, I'm sure he was on the bench, but I was behind the basket furthest from the Seton Hall bench, so I wasn't able to see.
Shaheen Holloway - Sha looked like the head coach in the closing minutes as Willard was standing towards the corner of the court. I'm not saying an assistant coach doesn't take over at times, its just notable.
Substitution - Willard went 10 men deep, all of which played 10 or more minutes. While this has its advantages, I found myself asking why Hall and Jackson were on the court instead of Pope and Theodore.
Fortunately, the team and us fans don't have to mull over this game for too long. The Pirates return home to play Cornell on Sunday at Noon, on SNY.
It will be interesting to see how much tonight's result was due to the Temple defense (they held 10 teams to 50 or less points last season) being themselves, and how much it was the Seton Hall offense faltering. Was tonight simply a rough first game for a new coach, on the road, against one of the best defensive teams in the nation? Or was it a pre-cursor to what we will see for the next 29+ games? Let's hope the former.