Providence College's school colors are basic black, white and grey. No frills, no style points.
The same can be said of the win for the Pirates on Saturday. It wasn't pretty in the least, but it was nevertheless a win.
Here are the 5 Thoughts from Seton Hall's 14th win of the year, one more than they had all of last year:
- The Ninja Strikes Back
Fuquan Edwin had a career night, scoring 24 PTS to go along with 9 REB and 5 STL. And honestly, the only difference from the norm was that Edwin was knocking down jump shots at a high rate. The boards and steals are what we've seen from him all year. Like a ninja, Edwin locks on to his target (the ball), and then does his job. He's a constant ballhawk on the defensive end, and he gets more of his points in transition and also via the three point shot. This time, Edwin knocked down the deep balls early, pacing the Seton Hall offense the entire first half when Providence (as expected) came out with good energy. The 5 threes he hit in his first 5 attempts before missing his last 3 tied a career-best. Major props to him, a bright spot offensively when the Hall had major difficulty finding open paths to the basket.
- Senior Style
Herb Pope had a really rough night from the floor, getting knocked out of the game briefly when Gerard Coleman literally ran him over as Pope took a charge in the first half. Not only that, many of Providence's SEVENTEEN blocked shots came on him in the area immediately near the basket. But Pope persevered, ending up with a double-double of 11 PTS and 10 REB despite the 4-14 shooting night.
Jordan Theodore had similar struggles from the floor (coincidentally, he also went 4-14), but every basket he had was huge. The two jumpers he hit down the stretch were enormous, one a three from the left corner that stalled a late Providence run when the crowd started to get loud, the other a pull-up jumper from the left wing that stretched a lead that had become just one point back to three. Also of note were his 9 AST (vs just 2 TO) and SIX steals (a new career-high), and the proverbial nail in the coffin of him tipping the ball upcourt to Edwin, away from two pursuing Friars, for a layup plus foul in transition after the aforementioned pull-up jumper. Pope's and Theodore's nights personified the game- they weren't pretty, but they were effective when they needed to be.
- Crime Stoppers
No, we're not talking about Aquille Carr in this post. But when you look at the box score from this game without watching it, you have to wonder how the score was so close. Seton Hall held the Friars to a respectable but not stellar 43% from the field, dominated the boards (47-33), especially the offensive boards (20-8), forced 17 turnovers, and scored 21 points off those turnovers, yet only won by 9.
How? Well, Providence had 17 blocked shots, as I said above, that contributed to the lower shooting percentage for Seton Hall (34%), and the Friars got 32 points in the paint compared to Seton Hall's 20, again as a side effect of the blocked shots. But the Pirates were able to stop a potential "crime" by stopping the Friars when they needed to the most. The defense by Seton Hall was pretty darn good. Only Vincent Council scored more than 10 PTS in this game, and if you take away the 9-17 performance by Council, the Friars' FG% dips to 38%. While the blocks kept PC in the ballgame, it was ultimately Seton Hall that blocked the upset by the Friars.
Not in this game. Brandon Mobley, who continues to get better and better by the minute, and Aaron Geramipoor didn't do much warming of the bench- they heated up the court, too! Mobley had 4 PTS and 7 REB (tying his career-high set in the UConn game) while Geramipoor had 3 PTS and a career-best 6 REB. Both of them were especially key because of the fact that Patrik Auda was in foul trouble early (although rewatching the game, Auda's first two fouls that put him in said trouble were of the effort variety, not the dumb variety) and Herb Pope was shaken up a little due to the collision with Coleman.
Mobley played more minutes, as expected, but both of them were live bodies out there who put themselves in great position to do the things they did on the court. In fact, Geramipoor played 10 minutes without picking up a single personal foul. He also stopped a drive by a Friar into the paint by rotating over perfectly and going straight up and down as the guard lost the ball. As Theodore tweeted after the game, Edwin and the pair of bigs off the bench were the difference in the game on a night where both he and Pope struggled to make shots.
- To the Polls!
With the Pirates' remarkable week now in the books, it's up to the voters of the coaches' poll and the AP poll to decide whether or not what the Pirates have done so far merits being ranked for the first time since January 22nd, 2001 (yikes, right?). By all accounts and purposes, I think that the Pirates should achieve this return after almost a calendar decade. How high will the Pirates climb this week? I think they'll be in the 20-25 range, although some have the Pirates higher than that.
Regardless of where the Pirates are come Monday afternoon (and please, no hemming and hawing over the exact slot- just be glad the program is back in the conversation again), what Seton Hall has done this year was beyond anyone's expectations or even wildest dreams. Picked 13th in the preseason poll (a ranking we at the Juice scoffed at as hard as we could scoff), Seton Hall now is 3-1 in the Big East, off to their second- best start since the Honey Russell era ended in 1960 (tied with 1992-93's team at 14-2 in their first 16 games, behind only the 17-1 start to the fateful 1988-89 season), and they stand alone with the second-best overall record in the entire conference behind Syracuse entering play on Monday. This is a team that deserves the ranking. Let's hope the voters feel the same way.
My preview of the DePaul game will be up on Tuesday morning. I will be calling said game on WSOU, and hopefully I can include a number next to the team name in that broadcast. Until then, Hazard Zet Forward to all!