Seton Hall dropped their seventh straight against Syracuse last night at a bulging Prudential Center (13,569 attended) but showed a lot of good things in what may be the last semi-measurable game of the season. With Brandon Mobley set to undergo season ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday and Brian Oliver out indefinitely (ankle, see quotes), Seton Hall will be a shell of a shell of itself for the rest of the season.
Quotes from Kevin Willard's post-game interview with Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin of 1250AM WMTR:
On Seton Hall holding their own: "Yeah, second shots [offensive rebounds, etc] really were it, that's where our lack of size is showing. We did a pretty good job, took care of the basketball, had some good looks a couple time in the second half. Missed opportunities, its kinda what we'e seen all year. Good effort, something good to build on going into Tuesday."
On Aaron Cosby taking most of Tom Maayan's minutes at point guard tonight: "That was just for tonight, I've been very happy with Tommy, but they just weren't really playing him. It just makes that zone a little tighter and impossible to deal with."
On Maayan's reluctance to shoot despite having the ability: "Yeah, but then again hes a freshman. Its not him, its just like anything else. That's why freshmen don't play a lot of minutes in this league. So as a freshman you're going to go through it and tonight just wasn't his night to play." Willard then referenced the Syracuse players who didn't play as freshmen last season.
On Teague's fine play off the bench: "He played well. I thought he played really well the other night .. He battled, his size was a factor even when we played Wake Forest. We were going to need the size, the length to match the athleticism [of Syracuse]."
On Haralds Karlis' performance: I've been really happy. He killed us on defense, he really had some big breakdowns." Willard then spoke very highly of how Karlis is contributing positively in many ways.
When asked to assess Brandon Mobley's season: "Hes had a bad season, he really has. That comes from someone who thinks and expects a lot from him. He needs to motivate himself to become that. I'm really proud of the way he battled through his shoulder since the Providence game.
He'll have surgery Tuesday or Wednesday. He needs to have a big summer for us. Having him and Patrik [Auda] healthy for a full season will really make a difference. He can be such a really special player, if he gets motivated. Its really not a negative, its a positive, its just tough to watch him play when I know what else is in that body. Its kind of a growing process, he didn't really have a full freshman season or a full season this year."
On Syracuse's Brandon Triche, who scored a game and career high 29 points: "He's one of those guys that everybody talks a lot with everybody on that roster. You talk to scouts -- if I were an NBA GM and I had a team, hes probably the first guy I'd look at bringing into my organization ... Hes a difference maker, you can't beat them [Syracuse] unless you stop him."
On Triche's dagger with 3:11 to play in the second half: "That's probably our Achilles heal, we can't guard the guard position. That'll get addressed next year."
Kevin Willard summarized the team's performance: "I'm really happy the way everyone battled, that's a good basketball team."
When asked if Brian Oliver will play the rest of the season (ankle): "I don't know. Hes got a self proclaimed injury. If a player says hes injured and can't go, I don't go against that. Brian is one of those kids... it is what is is. I'd rather go with the guys who are out there playing. He says hes injured... is that an answer?"
An additional quote on Oliver from Jerry Carino. Potential winner of Willard Quote of the Year: "Brian Oliver has a self-proclaimed ankle injury so he's out indefinitely. I don't know when he'll be back. It's one of those injuries that comes up in practice... it's one of those injuries that when a game appears it goes away and feels real good, and when a practice appears it really hurts. We'll have the New England Journal of Medicine come in and study him because they'll want to know how that's possible. It's quite amazing."
Interesting Stats & Notes:
- Seton Hall lost by 11 points and missed 12 free throws. They shot 17-29 (58%) from the line. Missed opportunities.
- Fuquan Edwin scored 15+ points for the fifth straight game. Emerging leader.
- Syracuse turned the ball over just four times while Seton Hall did nine times. Valued possessions.
- Edwin was 4-7 from deep and is now shooting 41.7% from three on the season. Zone buster.
- 13,569. The new record for Seton Hall basketball attendance at Prudential Center. Progress.