"RAWR" says Kevin Johnson. - USA TODAY Sports
Pirates embark on 16-0 run in the first half, but free throws clang off the rim too many times ahead of huge rivalry game.
Sorry for the extended absence, folks. Sometimes, you just get too busy.
Anyway, here are the thoughts from Sunday's loss
- The Run
After Omar Calhoun's free throw made it 25-12 UConn with 7:54 remaining, the Rock was dead. It was a decent-sized crowd considering the inclement weather over the weekend (announced at 7,634), but gloom was in the air.
Then Fuquan Edwin knocked down a three, which he followed by a steal and coast-to-coast layup on the other end. The Huskies called timeout, as Kevin Ollie sensed an uptick in energy from the Pirates. It didn't work as intended, as the Pirates another three and two more layups from Edwin, plus a putback from Kevin Johnson to take a three point lead into the next media timeout. Seton Hall forced three empty possessions via a good old fashioned stop in that run, and forced 4 turnovers.
And just like the team made a total 180, so did the crowd. When the Pirates took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, it was the loudest I've personally heard the crowd this season.
- Closing and Opening
The Pirates have really killed themselves at the beginnings and ends of halves, and while UConn got some momentum back heading into halftime, the Hall went on an 8-2 run to start the second, something that they really haven' done this season. Until they started turning the ball over again (early giveaways definitely contributed to the early deficit), Seton Hall had the momentum on their side, and that's something they really haven't had a lot of in this current losing streak.
- Expensive Throws
We may as well call them that, because if they were free, they'd be easier to make. The 6-17 showing from the stripe is the main stat you point to from this game as the reason for the loss (that, and Shabazz Napier did his thing in the second half). The Pirates got UConn in the bonus about midway through the half, and didn't capitalize on their freebies. This would have been a different game if they had.
You know, Kevin Johnson led the Pirates in rebounding in this game. There weren't a ton of rebounds to go around, but Johnson managed 6 REB including 4 offensive boards. He ended up with 9 PTS, two off his career-best. Willard spoke highly of his play off the bench, and he has the look of a guy that could really be a player down the road.
- Rivalry Time
The Pirates have won 5 straight at the RAC, and both teams come in with long losing skids. The game will be intense, and very interesting considering the teams are where they are for different reasons (Rutgers for general bad play, SHU with injuries galore). I'll have a preview of this game up on Tuesday afternoon. No, really, I will this time.
In the end, today the Pirates gave a good effort, and that impressive 16-0 spurt was the best they've looked on offense in some time. The goal is to be playing well by the time March rolls around, no matter what the record says, and this game was a step in that direction.