So, I too was sitting in section 207 last night after spending FOREVER getting down to Philadelphia (about 3 hours in transit), and was not very happy with what I saw after the first 8 minutes.
Here are The Thoughts:
- BAD SHOTS
I don't know whether it was something in the water down there, but the Pirates caught the bad shot disease, er, plague. It hit everyone but Jeremy Hazell (ironic, isn't it), as Pirate after Pirate forced shot after shot. Temple was down 20-17 when they went on a 17- 0 run that was fueled by the onset of the Plague. They missed layups. They missed drives to the basket. They missed easy shots, too, but the majority of them were bad.
In essence, they started getting stupid on offense, and Temple was merely taking advantage of that stupidity. It falls on Coach Willard to set them straight in terms of taking bad shots, but it continued throughout the game, which shifts the blame to the players. I am almost positive Willard tried his best to get the team to stop with the bad shots, but the coach can only do so much.
- Will the real Jeff Robinson please stand up?
Robinson looked as lost as I got trying to get out of Philly last night. And that took me an hour.
You see my point. Robinson needs to realize that although he is 6'6" with a body from the gods, he does not have the ball skills or the quickness to take guys 1-on-1, especially against a great defensive team like the Owls. What can he do? Crash the glass with gusto, defend guys with his versatility and physicality, run the floor in transition, and drop a mid-range jumper occasionally. If he tries to do anything other than those things, he is hoping to get lucky or just playing stupid. It was a little of both on Friday.
Let's put it this way: we will know very soon if the promise Robinson showed last season was a product of Gonzo's system or Robinson being that good.
- "FINISH, HERB!"
A quote from me. Pope was 2-10 from the floor, and made 1-2 three pointers. That means he shot 1-8 inside the arc. This cannot happen if the Pirates want to be all they can be this season. I think about 6 of those 8 shots came within inches of the basket.
The defense was alright on Friday. Early in the game, the three-quarter court press/half court trap worked very well (and would have continued to work well had the Pirates made the necessary shots to be able to run it). Everyone was focused, and save a few instances, no one got abused. Temple just did a really good job of finding good shots and knocking them down after they got that lead. The Pirates gave effort on that end, and that's a welcome change. What kills me is that they almost came back at the end despite the horrid offense. If the game was 5 minutes longer, Seton Hall may have won it. But alas, it's only 40 minutes.
I like that Willard tapped into his bench. I do. Everyone off the bench played around the same amount of minutes, so everyone was involved mentally. I like that, too. If they made shots, we'd be talking about how that use of the subs saved the starters and helped the Pirates press effectively
But the bench combined to shoot 3-17 from the field, including an 0-6 from Eniel Polynice. That's unacceptable. Ferrakohn Hall and Keon Lawrence in particular need to be better off the bench than they were, as they were key contributors to the stupid offense the Pirates played for most of the night. Even Patrik Auda did some nice things when he was in (namely, he showed he can shot fake and drive with the ball given adequate space). But the object of the game is to put the ball in the basket, and that's something Seton Hall didn't do last night.
Bottom line is, the team needs to come out strong Sunday afternoon against Cornell to save face. I think the first 10 minutes will tell us a lot about who this team really is, because the stupidity isn't what this team is about, or so I think. I'll be doing play-by-play for 89.5 FM WSOU, so if you can't make it out to the game, tune in or log on to wsou.net to listen to our online stream. Hopefully, the Pirates can play smart, because you know their opponents from the Ivy League are going to do just that.
P.S. - to the Liacouras Center: How do you run out of hot dogs?! I wanted one at halftime, but I get to the front of the line and discover there are none left. Really? At a sporting event? The hot dog is the staple food of sports. Gotta be better, Liacouras Center...