Just a few observations and thoughts on the game...
- Cornell had no real inside presence besides Aaron Osgood. They have a small lineup, unlike last year's team with seven footer Jeff Foote. Osgood got to the foul line early and often, but he only made 8 of his 16 attempts.
- Cornell likes to bomb from 3. They started the game 0-8, and it really put a damper on their offensive production early. They finished at 5-24 (20.8%), so its safe to say that could have done better in this department.
- Throughout the course of the game, it just seemed like Seton Hall was open by a step or two more than the Temple game. It makes sense since Temple is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and Cornell is a rebuilding Ivy League team.
- Seton Hall's press was a lot more effective against the Big Red than against Temple. Which also makes sense due to the gap in talent. The defense also looked better. Cornell rarely worked in the paint, so the interior defense obviously looked better. Cornell had quite a few open looks from 3 that were missed, so I wouldn't get overly confident here.
- I'm not sure I agree with Kevin Willard's offensive game plan after Seton Hall went up 15-20+ points. The team continued to jack up 3's and didn't seem to work the clock, Bo Ryan style. Its a very flashy way to play, but I'm not so sure that this game plan will work against better teams. I feel like we saw this type of game plan with Bobby Gonzalez.... and his team's lacked the ability to close out games. Just a thought.
- Free throws. Once again, the team shot very well from the line. Late in the game, the team had only missed 1 FT. They finished at 86.7% (26-30). 3 of which were misses by Ferrakohn Hall.
- We finally were able to watch Anali Okoloji make his Seton Hall debut. He logged 4 minutes in mop up time and missed one drive to the hoop. Although it was a miss, he looked pretty quick, FWIW.
- Darnell Gatling also logged 4 minutes in mop up time. Unlikely Anali, he was able to score on 2 FTs. The bench was going wild when he drew the foul and sank the freebies. Good for Darnell!
- Keon Lawrence hit a three pointer. Its crucial that Keon finds his stroke from the field, the Pirates need it. We need to see more of this, although Keon doesn't really try to create or force his own shot, which is good from a back up point guard.
- Jeremy Hazell, Jeff Robinson and Jordan Theodore all had bounce back games. Hazell was incredibly efficient (28 points on 11 shots), Robinson sank two sweet three pointers (2-2) while scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards. Theodore turned the ball over 5 times, but scored 10 points, grabbed 7 boards and collected 7 assists. I can't wait until he performs more consistently.
- I'm a little worried about the Pirates interior defense. Hall and Pope both accumulated 4 fouls (some very silly fouls), and Auda is still learning. This is against a team that had no real forwards besides Osgood. They were also slashed by Temple. However, Herb Pope is still recovering, Hall is logging his first big minutes of his career and Auda is a freshman, so there is plenty of upside.
- I'm a little disappointed in the play of the wings so far. Edwin and Polynice didn't really do much today, but Jeff Robinson picked up the slack. More on Polynice in a second.
- Overall, I thought the refs were making some questionable calls today. Compared to the hard nosed Temple game, the refs were not giving the players much leeway today. Cornell took 27 FTs, while Seton Hall attempted 30. Compared to 13 and 16 for Temple and Seton Hall, respectively.
- Is it just me, or were there fewer TV timeouts than usual today? I'm not complaining, because I advocate less team timeouts in college basketball, but I just thought it was odd. I watched the game on SNY.
- According to Jerry Carino, Eniel Polynice's grandmother passed away, which explained his late arrival to the game, and non-start. I'm positive that I, and all Pirate fans have Polynice and his family in their thoughts and prayers.