Seton Hall Basketball: Cincinnati 70, Seton Hall 53 - Breakout Game by Lawrence isn't Enough

Seton Hall's Herb Pope drives to the basket past Cincinnati's Yancy Gates in the first half. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

Newark native Keon Lawrence tallied a career high in points (15) while adding 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in his most complete performance as a Pirate. Unfortunately, his significant contributions weren't enough to give Seton Hall their second Big East win in as many games.

A struggling half court offense failed to correct its problems in the second half on the way to another disappointing loss. It took the Pirates around 35 minutes to  run a half court offense that looked like it had a plan. After Herb Pope (10PTS/4REB/3AST) picked up his 3rd and 4th fouls in a five second span that was clouded by a brain fart, he was force fed the rock. He was fouled time after time and hit most of his free throws. The offense had something that resembled an identity. For the other 35 minutes... not so much. 

Despite Len Elmore saying that the Pirates failed to get many points in transition, thats where a lot of their offense came from. The handful of turnovers in the first half and the lesser amount in the second half, led to quite a few odd man rushes up the court. When the Pirates weren't able to force turnovers, the offense reverted back to it's stagnant half court style.

Not including garbage time, the Pirates shot 4-13 from beyond the arc (30%). Jamel Jackson (0PTS) extended his 3PT drought to four games by missing all three of his attempts tonight. If he can't find his shot from deep, its long-ball by committee. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the committee struggles from downtown. 

Jordan Theodore (7PTS/0AST/4TO) struggled yet again. He wasn't able to get much dribble penetration and continues to force his mandatory 3-4 miracle shots. Keon Lawrence was clearly the better point guard tonight, but I wouldn't expect a change in the starting lineup just yet.

Freshmen Patrik Auda (4PTS/1REB/1AST/2STL) and Fuquan Edwin (10PTS/3REB) were equally quiet. Auda got in foul trouble in the first half yet again. His 1 rebound in 17 minutes is a bit troubling because he isn't really involved in the offense besides setting screens. If Auda isn't rebounding or scoring, what is he doing? The answer: fouling.

Edwin posted yet another double digit scoring total, but he was much quieter tonight. He missed a few runners in the lane that could have easily went in. Not a bad effort by FU.

Another quiet Pirate was Jeff Robinson. No thunderous dunks, but plenty of threes - four to be exact. Robinson had 5 points and 5 rebounds, but took 4 three pointers. Definitely not what Pirate fans wanted out of him. I figured that Robinson would need to have a monster day in the paint if Seton Hall was going to have a chance. He didn't, and they didn't.

I don't think many fans expected a win against the Bearcats, since this team has been atrocious on the road and in nationally televised games in the past few seasons - let alone an away nationally televised game. However, the loss was disappointing none the less. How many ugly offensive performances will it take before us fans get used to only scoring 50-60 points a game? Cincinnati played tough defense in the second half, I'll give them their credit, but the offense looked very unstructured for long periods of time (Seton Hall didn't make a FG for an 11 minute span tonight).

This team will struggle mightily if they can't run with Louisville on January 5th. Perhaps such a free flowing game could benefit the offense. All I know is that something has to happen on offense if this team wants to win. The defense is there, the offense is not.

Here is the boxscore for the game. Expect full post game reports tomorrow from the rest of the SOJ crew. Have a Happy New Year, and may 2011 be a much brighter year for our Pirates!

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