The Pirates stumbled to the finish line (again).
We have all seen this before. Seton Hall looks like a Top 25 team for the first two-thirds of the game, then suddenly reverts back to the offensively inept, questionable decision making, unable to close out team that they really are. The opponents are different, the venues are different, but the outcomes have consistently been the same. Unfortunately, that consistent outcome has not been a favorable one for the Seton Hall Pirates.
Seton Hall came out of the gates at their usual undisciplined, Bobby Gonzalez pace. The first shot of the game was a quick Herb Pope pull up jumper from the free throw line that missed. In a nutshell, that is what I'm talking about when I outline this team's problems. At the first media timeout, Coach Willard yanked Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope from the game to calm them down. Magically, the Hall started playing fundamentally sound basketball on both sides of the ball. Not surprisingly, the Pirate lead grew to 11 with 2:54 to play in the half. It wouldn't last long.
Seton Hall took a two minute nap that gave Notre Dame an 8-0 run to finish the half, capped off by a Tim Abromaitis prayer at the buzzer sponsored by an offensive rebound. Once again, nutshells people.
The Pirates would never regain the lead.
Like clockwork, the Irish rode their momentum out of the locker room by going on a quick 7-3 run to start half. To their credit, Seton Hall didn't fold like a cheap suit, they kept the game within a possession or two until the final five minutes. Crunch time. The part of the game that separates the teams that will Dance in March, and the teams that will be
golfing studying. The part of the game that separates the Seton Halls from the Clemsons, the Xaviers, the Arkansas', the Daytons, the Richmonds, the Cincinnatis... should I continue?
After Jeff Robinson drilled a three with 5:07 to play that cut the Pirate deficit to only two, Notre Dame ran off 8 straight points. In fact, Notre Dame outscored Seton Hall 12-2 in the final five minutes. Inexcusable, unacceptable, pathetic - you name it.
Unfortunately, none of this is new to me nor should it be new to anyone else that has followed the Pirates this season. Build a lead, relinquish it because of silly plays, keep the game close, let the game get away down the stretch because of the aforementioned silly plays, repeat. The repeat part is key. At what point is it simply unacceptable for this to happen habitually?
This season's woes can be attributed to Jeremy Hazell's injury, a few bad breaks in Big East play and internal problems, but there is still that consistent pattern of not closing out games through all of the extracurriculars. What is the source of this failure to execute? The players? The coaches? Bad luck? It has to be something. For now, there is no definitive answer, but I'm sure we'll get one as the Kevin Willard era unfolds.
Follow the jump for analysis on each individual Pirate and whats in store for the team as they close out this 2010-11 season.
- Herb Pope followed up a disappointing showing in Milwaukee with another dud tonight in 29 minutes of action: 4PTS/4REB/1AST. Whats even worse is that those four points were off of 9 shots. Jeff Robinson had a solid game after a rough first couple of minutes. The senior posted 16PTS/5REB/1AST/3TO. Robinson did what I expected him to do in the OGT, but Pope came up short on his end of the deal.
- Jordan Theodore had a good first half, but finished with only 7PTS/4AST/2REB/2TO. The highlight of Theodore's night was a beautiful no-look pass between three defenders to a cutting Jeremy Hazell for a layup. Very pretty. Eniel Polynice had a solid all around game in relief of Theodore with 2PTS/4REB/3AST/4STL/2TO. The transfer from Mississippi brings it in every aspect outside of scoring.
- Jeremy Hazell had a mediocre night, tallying most of his points within the arc 14PTS/2STL/1REB/1AST/2TO. Freshman Fuquan Edwin was also mediocre on the offensive end with 2 points, but he did post 7 boards in 22 minutes.
- Aaron Geramipoor and Patrik Auda combined for 3PTS/6REB/3AST/1BLK/1TO in 22 minutes off the bench. Their most significant contribution was staying in the paint and playing solid when Robinson and Pope were yanked during the first media timeout. They helped change the attitude of the Pirates in the first half.
- Kevin Willard picked up a technical foul after a no call on a missed Herb Pope layup. I couldn't see much off of the ESPNU feed and they didn't show a replay, but it was warranted and didn't cost the Pirates the game.
- Jeremy Hazell passed Greg Tynes on the all time Seton Hall scoring list during tonight's game to total the third most points by any Pirate in their career. The senior still trails Seton Hall greats Terry Dehere and Nick "the Quick" Werkman. Hazell is unlikely to catch Nick Werkman, who has a good 200~ points on him.
The Pirates travel back to New Jersey for their final two games of the season. They host red hot St. John's this Thursday and bubble ridden Marquette next Saturday on Senior Night.
PLAY THE MARCH TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND YOU COULD WIN A TRIP FOR TWO TO LAS VEGAS! LOOK FOR THE CODE INSIDE SPECIALLY-MARKED PACKAGES 12-PACKS OF BUD LIGHT ENTER CODE AT FACEBOOOK.COM/BUDLIGHT ----- No Purchase Necessary. Open to U.S. residents (except CA & TX) 21+. For a chance to win a Grand or First Prize, Game Period 1 begins 3PM CST on 2/14 & ends 3PM CDT on 3/18. For a chance to win a First Prize only, Game Period 2 begins 3:00:01PM CDT on 3/18 & ends 3PM CDT on 4/30. To participate, obtain a Code from inside specially-marked packages of Bud Light beer or to request a Code without purchase, visit budlight.com/freecode during a Game Period. Limit one (1) free Code request/day/person or email address. To play, text HOOPS to BEERS (23377) & follow prompts or visit budlight.com/freecode & follow instructions. See Official Rules inside package or at budlight.com/freecode for complete details. Void in CA, TX & where prohibited. Enjoy Responsibly – ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO