I just didn't want it to end...
The Seton Hall men's basketball season came to a close in Walsh Gym this afternoon, as they lost to a hungry UMASS team 77-67 in the second round of the NIT.
Sophomore Fuquan Edwin got a good look at the roll he'll likely play next year as the leader of the Pirates, as he poured in a game high 21 points, grabbing 7 boards. Senior Jordan Theodore tallied 14 points and 5 assists, but was plagued by foul trouble, receiving his third and fourth personal fouls with roughly 25% of the game left to play. Herb Pope climbed the glass for 15 rebounds, but managed to shoot just 2/9 from the field, good for 9 points.
I'll say this; this is not the same UMASS team that Seton Hall has drubbed, twice, in the past two years. They are a very talented and athletic team, lead by the diminutive Chaz Williams who torched the Pirates for 20 points, 7 boards and 6 assists. In his pre-game commentary, JP likened Williams to Seton Hall blue-chip commit Aquille Carr (2013); JP was right on the money. This kid's crossover tore my ACL just watching him from my seat, he's so quick. No doubt about it, Head Coach Derek Kellogg has assembled quite a nice team who, I believe, will compete at the top of the A-10 for the next few years.
Losing at the end of the season is always disappointing, so I won't begrudge you if you don't begrudge me a good weep. However, as I dejectedly sauntered down South Orange Avenue towards the train, this season - the entire season - flashed like a sideshow right in front of me and it was pretty inspiring on the whole. I remembered that Seton Hall was picked 13th in the preseason. I remembered that The Pirates had won just 13 games in the prior season. I remembered that our freshman came in with little-to-no fanfare (compared to say, Rutgers' class). I distinctly remember how proud I was seeing the words "Seton Hall" next to the #23 in the AP top 25 poll. I fondly recalled exciting wins against VCU, St. Joe's, WVU, UConn and Georgetown. So, how did our team fair? The Pirates overachieved. Period. Jordan Theodore set a program record for assists in a year, while Fuquan Edwin lead the nation in steals. They won 21 games and played two post season match-ups as the top seed in the NIT. Problems off the court? Zero.
Finally, and I'm certain that I speak for my colleagues at SOJ as well as the entire SOJ community when I say this; congratulations to our seniors, Jordan Theodore, Herb Pope and Peter Dill on all they accomplished on and off the court while at Seton Hall. The time they spent at our beloved alma mater was not devoid of struggle at times, but I defy anyone who knows an ounce about these three young men to say they didn't truly bleed blue; certainly we wish them well moving forward. After the game, Jordan Theodore said, "I wanted to put SHU back on the map and we were able to do that this season...That was one of my goals coming back." Indeed you did, Captain. Once a Pirate, always a Pirate.
As always, Hazard Zet Forward!