If this wasn't one of the worst offensive performances you've ever seen from a D1 school, I'm sorry for the quality of basketball that you've been watching. The Pirates were coming off a two game winning streak and once again, the talk surrounding what the Pirates would need to do to merit a postseason bid began to arise. It's fine to have faith in your team, but as myself and my writers have been saying all week, let's not get ahead of ourselves. If the Pirates have come to be known for one thing this season it's been their inconstancy. I was asked on Twitter if this was the same team that blew the doors off of the Orange at the Carrier Dome. I responded, of course it is. Inconsistency is this unit's middle name and it's true.
You're never quite sure which Blue-and-White is going to show up on any given night. Is Hazell going to drop 40-or-5? Is Jeff Robinson going to play in an efficient manner staying in the post and only leaving to take an occasional three or is he going to base his game off of it and take 6-3PA or more? Are they going to win the battle on the boards or get dominated to the point where they give up 5 consecutive offensive rebounds to WVU to start the second half? Really, the only thing consistent about the Pirates is their inability to convert layups. Will they miss layups? Absolutely. In a win or a loss, close game or blowout, one thing is for certain, this team will share the load when it comes to missing layups. Unfortunately, I've got to discuss this game in detail. I wish I didn't have to. Watching American Idol would probably be more enjoyable at this point.
Let's start with the PG play. Jordan Theodore spent much of his night on the pine and rightfully so. He failed to make a bucket or record a point from the line, yet managed to turn the ball over twice in limited action. His two turnovers accounted for one more assist than he produced all night. That inconsistency I was speaking of? Look no further than Seton Hall's floor general. We're 23 games into the season and there's no excuse for Theodore not to be playing better at this juncture.
Keon Lawrence who saw the majority of the minutes at the point tonight, put forth a decent effort. He finished with 6PTS/2REB/2AST/2STL/2TO on 2-of-6 shooting. When I say decent effort, mind you, this is what we've come to expect from Keon. Play good defense and contribute a little bit in multiple aspects of the game. Lawrence isn't expected to carry the load, he just needs to play defense and stay out of the way by not shooting his team out of the game. He accomplished his tasks tonight, which is why he saw the majority of the minutes while JT rode the bench.
We saw another disappointing performance out of the Pirate captain, Jeremy Hazell. Coming off a terrible performance against Providence where he hit just 3-of-12 shot attempts, Hazell missed another 7-3PT attempts in Morgantown and has now missed his last 13 attempts from long-range. When is the last time he's done that? I couldn't even tell you. He just isn't finding bottoms right now, but don't expect the kid to stop shooting. As Hazell goes, the Pirates go. Of course, unless Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope can both beast the boards and put up double-digits in the scoring column. Neither of which took place tonight against the Mountaineers.
Robinson finished with 9PTS/6REB and Pope contributed 8PTS/7REB. Not bad numbers right? Look a little bit deeper, JRob was an awful 4-of-14 including yet again, another miserable night from the arc missing all six shot attempts from there. I should leave it there, but there's a misconception that JRob isn't a bad 3PT-shooter. Well, the stats prove he's efficient from distance when he limits himself to 2 or less attempts a game. Anything more than that and he's outright inefficient. He's been dominant inside as of late and tonight, he abandoned the game plan. As we've seen him do time-and-time again all season. Tonight, there was a lot of I&ME basketball being played, led by none other than Jeff Robinson.
In getting to Pope, he finished 4-of-9 from the field. Not bad considering he nearly hit 50% of his shots. He made many difficult baskets early on, but he missed just as many gimmes. Seriously, layups, layups, layups. Pope missed a bunny so bad that the ball came off the glass on the opposite side he went up, luckily, he rebounded his miss and put it up for a deuce. Herb was in foul trouble for much of the game, picking up his 3rd PF with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. It's been a glaring problem all season. When he picked up his 3rd, he was coming off a missed jumper, trying to outrebound 3-Mountaineers who had position and gave himself no chance but to go over the back in attempt to grab the board. You've got to admire his effort, but at the same time, he needs to realize when he's beat on a rebound attempt and to get back on defense. There was no possible way he was going to come down with that rebound and instead, he ended up hurting his team by sitting on the bench for the next 10 minutes or so.
Speaking of Herb's foul trouble, what did Aaron Geramipoor do to get in Willard's doghouse? Willard used AG so methodically the past two-or-three games spelling Pope early and often. Instead, Auda was the first off the bench and Aaron didn't even get in the game until garbage time with about 2 minutes remaining. AG isn't going to put up monster stats, but he did a nice job subbing for Pope the the last couple games and didn't deserve a benching for the majority of the night, especially considering the poor play of Patrik Auda.
There's really not much you can say, other than Auda was seriously lost tonight. When he checked into the game, I counted three defensive breakdowns by Auda that led to two made buckets by the Mountaineers. Luckily for Patrik, WVU missed an open layup on one of his breakdowns, so they only burned him for 4PTS instead of 6. In the boxscore it doesn't look like Auda played as terribly as he did as he put up 5PTS/4REB on 2-of-3 shooting. Yet, he was extremely lost on the defensive end. He didn't look like a player that understood his role in the 2-3 zone and often left his man wide open just inches away from the basket. Another blunder came on the offensive end where he set a pick-and-roll for Keon. Well, Keon found him, but Auda wasn't paying attention, leading to another turnover. A turnover that will go against Keon's stats. If Aaron's not healthy, if the toe is hurting him, he's got to sit. He hurt his team tremendously tonight and Willard needs to get him out of the game earlier. Geramipoor could have come in for Pope when he got into foul trouble. I don't blame Willard for giving Auda the first shot, but after the second or third breakdown on the defensive end, you've got to put him on the pine and let him think about the game for a minute.
The Pirates were 2-of-19 from long distance. They shot 29%. They lost the rebounding margin by 14 boards. They only had 5 assists, and had more than double that in the turnover column with 11. They scored 17 points in the first 20 minutes and only finished with 44. Again, if that's not one of the worst offensive performances you've ever seen, I want to see the basketball that you've been watching. Actually, if it could be any worse from what we witnessed tonight, I don't want to see it. This contest wasn't borderline unwatchable, I found myself counting the minutes until the Pirates would get back on their bus. Maybe they left their effort there? Maybe they'll blame this terrible showing on another snowstorm like we saw last year in Pittsburgh? Hopefully the bus got stuck. Hopefully they walked through 20-inches of snow. Hopefully they slipped and skidded their way on ice into the WVU Coliseum. At least it will give them an excuse. Hopefully they can give some reason why they showed up in the midst of a 2-game winning streak so seemingly unprepared. Their season is on thin-ice and a roof-rake isn't going to save them. And UConn comes to town Saturday. Good luck, gentlemen.