The Seton Hall Pirates playing in an early season back-to-back contest, put forth their best effort of the young season in a commanding come from behind victory over St. Joe's, 78-70. Trailing by two points in the final minute of the first half, the Pirates fell apart in the last 40 seconds, allowing the Hawks to score 5 unanswered to push their lead to 7 at the intermission. Not exactly how you want to wrap up the first twenty minutes of play. In previous years, these lapses often saw the Pirates unravel later in the game, but, tonight would be a different story. Coming out of the break, the Pirates were focused, putting together a 5-0 run of their own before trading five lead changes throughout the second half until Seton Hall would pull away for good.
Carl Jones is the real deal. Singlehandedly, he kept the Hawks alive for the better part of 30 minutes, dropping 38-points (a new Charleston Classic record) on 12-of-17 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long distance. Jones has incredible stamina, playing the entire 40 minutes, doing all he could to keep St. Joseph's in the game. In the end, it wouldn't be enough as his only other teammate to reach double-digits was Ronald Roberts with 10-points.
This recap isn't about Carl Jones and it isn't about St. Joe's, thankfully. The Seton Hall Pirates earned a berth to the Championship! Ok, it's the Charleston Classic Championship, but they're still in play to bring home some early season hardware if they can defeat Northwestern at 8:30PM on Sunday night.
As we've been saying around SOJ, the Pirates will go as far as Theodore can take them and JT once again put forth his third terrific performance in as many games. Recording his first double-double of the season (18pts/10ast/7reb/3to), and just three rebounds shy of a triple-double, JT paced the offensive comeback in the second half. Additionally, Theodore drew two terrific offensive fouls on the Hawks, a move that he pulls off as well as anyone in college basketball, might I add.
Like clockwork, Herb Pope added his third double-double in as many games this season (17pts/10reb) and despite shooting a horrible 4-of-13 from the floor, he made 8-of-9 from the stripe. I'll take that every night. Teams will attack Pope late in games, forcing him to the line due his FT shooting woes (55% last year). However, if Pope can make them at the clip we saw tonight, they'll be in position to win a ton of games that previously would have slipped away at the stripe. Pope's 0-for-4 from distance against VCU didn't stop him from taking another one tonight. Fortunately, he made the attempt and is now 1-of-7 for the season, however I feel that he bought himself another 7 attempts with the make. Pope did turn the ball over 4 times and and at times goes up soft in the paint, but as long as he keeps tallying double-doubles, I'm going to shut my mouth and acknowledge his play for what it is. It's not that I'm down on Pope, I just expect so much out of him, knowing what he's capable of. I'm confident we're going to see it, this season.
The third member of the triple threat, Fuquan Edwin, added 17-points on 60% shooting tonight. FU was also good for 2reb/2stl/blk as he continues to contribute in every aspect of the game. In the final minute, Edwin left with an apparent cut around his eye. He was scheduled to have stitches following the game.
Earlier tonight, I was tweeting that Aaron Cosby was playing too unselfishly in his young career. It wouldn't be long before his teammates found him camped around the perimeter. A few treys later (3-of-6), a couple made FGs and the freshman stepped up with a big 13pts, many of them coming during the second half Pirates run. In fact, in crunch time, it was Cosby who saw the majority of the minutes over Karlis (other than when they were on the floor together), something we've seen the reverse of in the first two games. Keep firing away Aaron, that's a pretty stroke. The Yahoo box score also credits Cosby for leading the Pirates in minutes played (38). I don't believe that to be accurate, but the ESPN box score isn't posted yet, so it's all I've got to go on.
The bench is alive! A night after the Seton Hall bench was shut out, Haralds Karlis made good on 3-of-6 attempts for 8pts/2reb/ast/blk and Aaron Geramipoor added a bucket and 4 rebounds in 7 minutes. Geramipoor has been taking a lot of heat on Twitter and Hall Line for his play thus far this season. Yes, much of it is deserved. He's still struggling with his defense and the occasional mental lapse (against VCU corralling the rebound before walking with it), but tonight he ripped down 4 big rebounds in 7-minutes while spelling Pope and Auda. He's not going to be a double-double machine, but there's no reason to believe he can't contribute 6pts/6reb per game, by the end of the year. Have a little faith, friends.
Patrik Auda had another frustrating night, sitting on the bench for the majority of the game in foul trouble, Auda logged only 17 minutes tonight. He did hit his first three point attempt of the year which was exciting to see, but the production is still not there as he finished with 3pts/reb. In three games, the 6'9 Auda has 8 rebounds. Many, including myself, were expecting 6-to-8 boards a game for him. He's got to bring that number up and start hitting the glass, beginning Sunday.
The Pirates will have an off-day (from competition) Saturday, before returning to the hard wood in South Carolina to face Northwestern on Sunday night. Coming into the tournament, many of us would have settled for two wins. However, the Pirates now find themselves playing for some early-season hardware and bringing that trophy back to South Orange would do wonders for this team's confidence. They must find a way to get it done. Forget about the hardware, a win against Northwestern (on a neutral court, no less), might be Seton Hall's biggest non-conference victory (ranked 42nd by KenPom) come March. It's not too early to think how meaningful this game may turn out to be, even 4 months from now.