Do to others as you would have them do to you? Oof...
Rutgers avenged their most recent home loss to the Pirates with handing them one of their own. In yet another dramatic twist between these two schools, Rutgers (previously mired in a six game skid, just as the Pirates had been when they visited the RAC two weeks ago ago) beat Seton Hall 77-72 in extra innings at the Prudential Center tonight.
First things first, Seton Hall put on an tremendous Senior Night, sending off Jordan Theodore, Herb Pope and Peter Dill in fashion. Heck, they even sprung for repelling ROTC guys (they literally repelled from the rafters of the Prudential Center with American flag in hand. A tear.) The seats were packed earlier than I've seen since Andre Barrett's Pirates beat the Georgetown Hoyas in the Swamp by 218 points on the little fellas Senior Night in 2004. Outstanding job by the students, as they absolutely packed the student section tonight; excellent show of support.
(Deep breath) The Scarlet Knight defense was perhaps as good as it could have been, but I can't give them all the credit; the Pirates just appeared be flat offensively. Herb Pope again meandered around the perimeter and the Seton Hall offense never really established any semblance of an inside game. This vexes me because Pope still managed to tally 14 points and grab 12 boards. Was this the same team that tattooed #9 Georgetown just hours ago by dominating the paint, whereby opening up the court for Cosby to shoot and Theodore to drive? Jordan Theodore had 17 points and 9 assists (tying Seton Hall's single season record, held by Sunny Sunkett) but shot just 4-14.
I'll say this; Rutgers' future is bright. Their freshman, if developed to potential, will be outstanding players in a few years. For Seton Hall, the engines that have driven their bus (Pope / Theodore) just weren't themselves. They played tight and never got comfortable. Perhaps it was the hype surrounding Senior Night, or perhaps it was the outstanding Rutgers defense. Regardless (or even "irregardless", for those less grammatically inclined), the two seniors were underwhelming, and my guess is they'd be the first to tell you they could have / should have been better. All this being said, Pirates fans should have tremendous faith in these two young men, as they have shown their resiliency time and time again.
Please indulge me for a moment, Pirate fans, and lets all take a collective deep breath. This loss stings, no doubt, but does it mean that the season is over? That NCAA Tournament dreams are no more? Hardly. In this not-so-humble writers opinion, a win at DePaul will put the Pirate ship back on course in time for the Big East Tournament.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
As always, Hazard Zet Forward!