This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
As you may have seen around the (SB) Nation, EA Sports has asked a series of college bloggers (yes, basketball can participate as well) to take part in a series of posts sponsored by the upcoming release of: EA Sports NCAA Football 2011. The game will be released next week on 7/13 and is always a must pick-up for the sports obsessed gamer.
After the drama that ensued during the 2009-2010 season, I felt it was time that we looked back at a season that actually did present a couple favorable moments. Below are my 10 favorite memories of last season. And no, a former Seton Hall coach accused of stealing a man-purse isn't included in the list. Enjoy!
10. Jeff Robinson shines during Senior Day at the Rock.
Eugene Harvey, playing in his final regular season home game, forced OT against the Golden Eagles by hitting two clutch FT attempts, but despite the loss, Jeff Robinson stole the show, erupting with 25PTS on 11-of-15 shooting.
Jeff Robinson, continues to dominate. Finishing the afternoon on 11-of-15 shooting, JRob led Seton Hall with 25PTS/4REB/AST/BLK. His play today was extremely dominant in the low post, receiving entry pass after entry pass, continuously finishing strong around the rim. His mid-range jumper has been on target all season, however, today he scored the majority of his points from around immediate vicinity of the rim. He's been extremely consistent down low and it remains a mystery why he's taken so many 3PT attempts throughout the season.
9. Seton Hall stops Cornell's home 22 game winning streak with a big road victory, led by Jordan Theodore.
The Pirates snapped the nation's 5th longest home-winning streak, spoiling the home-opener on a night that saw the Red raise another Ivy-Leauge Championship banner.
On offense, Theodore was routinely blowing by his defender, Louis Dale, who couldn't match his speed. The sophomore point-guard finished with 20PTS on 6-of-10 shooting, adding 4REB and 4AST. The stat line doesn't quite do justice to the game that Theodore displayed, as he provided the offensive spark early that prevented the Pirates from playing catch-up for the remainder of the game. Defensively, Jordan was everywhere, most importantly, he limited Dale to 4PTS on 2-of-6 shooting.
8. Keon Lawrence nearly losses a game against Louisville twice, but his monster block from behind saves the Pirates a victory.
However, 20 seconds into the possession, Keon Lawrence made a crucial turnover. Samuels came up with the steal and found Sosa streaking to the basket and as the Cardinals were about to cut the lead to one point, Keon Lawrence made what may have been a game-saving block. The Cardinals were able to chase down the loose ball, but Keon's refusal to give up on the play after just making a terrible turnover saved an easy 2 points for the Cardinals. Despite Knowles chasing down the loose ball, JT was able to force a turnover and found Hazell on the opposite end of the floor to send home a thunderous dunk, giving the Pirates a 5 point cushion with 36 ticks on the timex.
Keon Lawrence picked up the basketball from the made 3PT shot and while standing on the baseline, he took one step forward over the baseline. I can't explain what he was doing or what he was thinking, but he clearly stepped over the line. Realizing he made a violation, Keon stopped dead in his tracks, paused and then continued to inbound the basketball while already standing inbounds. The referee on the baseline signaled the violation with his hand, yet almost instantaneously called for the basketball. Keon threw it to the ref, who caught it and passed it back, Keon then successfully inbounded the ball to Hazell, who was fouled with .2 seconds on the clock.
7. JRob and Pope dominate Rutgers Senior Day.
Pope, was clearly motivated on the road, in a must-win game against Hamady Ndiaye on senior night at the RAC, finishing his night with 22PTS/18REB/3BLK/2AST/STL. Who said he had tired legs? He shattered his two month double-double drought tonight and his biggest performance as a Pirate couldn't have come at a better time.
Jeff Robinson stepped up tremendously over the last month with Pope slumping and despite Herb's monster game, JRob found no reason to slow down tonight. Robinson also contributed a double-double, good for 16PTS/14REB/2AST/STL on only 7-of-14 shooting. Of course, 50% is nothing to complain about, however with the way JRob has been shooting over the last month, we've become accustomed to 70% nights from the junior. Tremendous job again by Jeff. Tonight was the first time all season we've seen what this team is capable of when Herb and Jeff both take over and it's a dangerous thing for any team in the BIG EAST to defend.
6. Jordan Theodore steps up in the must-win season finale at Providence with 19PTS/8AST.
-Gonzo Ball to Jordan Theodore, who continues to break out and has really stepped up his play as of late. JT finished with 21PTS on 6-of-9 shooting, he set a career high with 8AST, shot 8-of-8 from the stripe while adding 2REB/2STL and only committed one turnover. Very impressive play from the sophomore as he even outscored the Pirates leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, by one point.
Follow the jump for my top 5 favorite moments of 09-10.
-Herb Pope. He's had games with gaudier numbers, however this was by far his most impressive performance of his Seton Hall career. Logging 38 minutes, Pope finished with 19PTS/9REB/3AST/STL/BLK on 8-of-12 shooting. Pope took 3 bad shot attempts tonight, a pair of 18 footers where he attempted to go glass and an airball 3PT attempt. Other than that, Pope was very efficient on offense tonight, looked impressive around the rim, finishing several dunks, but his highlight of the night was a pretty turn around hook that he converted after being fouled in the act. He proceeded to make his throw.
4. Jeremy Hazell drops 35 against Notre Dame in the most impressive performance of his Seton Hall career, earning the GonzoBall of the year along the way:
The only thing pretty about this one was the play of Jeremy Hazell. Simply unconscious the entire night, what can be said? Hazell had the best performance of the year and possibly his Seton Hall career finishing with 35PTS on an efficient 12-of-16 shooting, converting 8-of-11 from long distance. Fearless. Hazell once again, put his squad on his shoulders, repeatedly called for the ball and continuously delivered, drilling deep 3PT after deep 3PT. Hazell also played with an edge defensively, recording 4STL, none bigger than his interception of a Ben Hansbrough pass with 6:30 remaining and the Pirates up by 6 points. Final stat line: 35PTS/3REB/4STL/AST in a win-or-go-home (from the NIT) game will earn him the Gonzo Ball of the night AND year. Applaud, Jeremy "Bigg Game" Hazell for his performance tonight. Epic. Jay Williams described it best after Hazell hit his 8th 3PT of the night:
"I'm going to get some Popcorn, I feel like I'm watching an NBA game!"
3. Did Jamel Jackson really make 12 3PTs on 12-of-15 shooting?
JAMEL JACKSON. JJAX! This was a performance to watch, if you missed it, get yourself a copy of the tape, simply unbelievable. Jackson was perfect through his first 7 3PT attempts, if it weren't for the shot-clock expiring when he chased down a loose ball at half-court, who knows how long he would have remained perfect.
It wasn't until his 14th 3PT attempt that he legitimately missed on a 3PT attempt. With the talk of Keon and Jeff Robinson stealing minutes when they join the team next week, Jackson poured cement mixture on his case to stay in HEAVY rotation for Gonzo. Jamel finished the game with 40PTS! 6AST/4STL/3REB on 14-of-17 shooting (12-of-15 3PT.) He was 3 treys away from tying the D1 3PT record of 15 (of 25 attempts), set by Keith Veney of Marshall, in 1996.
2. Yes, I know it was SPC and the Pirates should have won by 30. Still, it was opening night and the excitement from Eugene Harvey's game winner had me saying, "WOW" for hours after the game was over. For that reason, it makes #2:
Wow, just absolute shock. After SPC took the lead on a fade away 10 footer, Seton Hall would need to go the distance of the floor in 3.6 seconds. They didn't go the distance, but they went about 55 feet as Hazell reached Harvey on a long in bounds pass. Harvey, coming off the bench for the first time in his Pirates career, took a few dribbles and put up a wild three-pointer from about 28 feet away. Harvey's defender jumped and the senior point guard double pumped rearranging his attempt which fell clean, giving the Pirates a win on opening night.
1. My #1 favorite moment of the year, surprisingly, ended in an OT loss. However, Jeremy Hazell made two DEEP 3PTs in just 8.1 seconds. The Pirates rallied in the final 57 seconds of regulation, going on a 12-2 run to send their first BIG EAST game into OT. All against, the #6 team in the country. When Hazell hit that second 3PT from Newark Penn Station, I literally jumped off of my couch and high stepped around the house. It was certainly my favorite moment of the year. The next 5 minutes? Not so much.
-Jeremy Hazell hit the game-tying 3PT from LONG distance, dropped 41 points, set a new career high, yet only connected on 4-of-19 3PT shooting. Jeremy showed the biggest flaw in his game with repetitive chucking, yet backed it up when it counted, coming through with an unbelievably clutch shot. Despite bad shot selection, Hazell was actually able to get to the line consistently and was one of the few Pirates to shoot decently from the stripe on 9-of-12 attempts. He put this team on his shoulders and came through with the game on the line. His shot selection obviously needs improvement, but the kid has heart, no question.
Remember those words, heart and fight? How many players have the confidence to call for the ball with the game on the line after a 2-of-14 3PT shooting night? Hazell did exactly that, calming drilling a 3PT with 14 seconds on the clock, forcing WVU to call a time out. After Da'Sean Butler made two clutch free throws, extending the lead to 3 points with 13 seconds remaining, everyone at the Rock knew who was going to get the touch.
All stats pertaining to Hazell's poor shooting were about to be thrown out the window for the remaining 13 seconds. They didn't matter to the fans, (ok, well they shouldn't have at the time) to the Pirates, or to WVU, everyone knew the ball would be finding Hazell, despite his 3-of-15 3PT shooting. He just sank his last attempt, why wouldn't he get the ball again? Has he ever met a shot he didn't like? Sure enough, curling wide around a screen, Hazell would need to create extra room to compensate for the tight defense. Creating extra room was an understatement, stepping out to 28 feet to get a clear look, and chucking in typical Hazell fashion, the result? Bottoms.