The Pirates kicked off their 2009-2010 season with a thrilling victory, 53-51 over St. Peter's College, a thrilling 50 seconds, to be exact. The only excitement taken from this game was the last 50 seconds, which included Eugene Harvey's miraculous buzzer beater. Quite honestly, other than that, it was a very difficult game to watch.
Read the AP recap of the game, here.
Yes it was opening night, the team rightfully had some butterflies and played out of sync, which is expected, to some degree. It's expected for, I don't know, the first 10 minutes of the game? Except that wasn't the case in last night's game. The team played sloppy basketball for nearly the duration of the 40 minutes, led by 15 turnovers, 39% shooting from the field, 17% shooting from the perimeter and 55% from the stripe. The only thing that went in the Pirates favor? Their opponent played worse with 17 TO, 37% FG, 27% 3Pt, and 40% FT respectively.
Like I said, it was not an easy game to watch. Had SHU played like that in a conference game, the outcome would not have been the same. Instead, they would have been run out of the gymnasium by just about everyone, except maybe Depaul, sorry Blue Demons. All is not lost, it's early, there's a lot of new faces trying to mesh with the core from last year and this week certainly had it's fair share of distractions. The Pirates will have one day to turn it around, today, before a road game at Monmouth on Sunday. It's November 14th and I didn't expect to be saying the team needed to "turn it around before playing Monmouth," yet, here we are.
A couple observations from last night's (50 second) thriller:
-Despite only dropping 6 points, Herb Pope filled up the rest of the stat sheet contributing a solid, balanced game: 6PT, 7REB, 6AST, 4BLK, 1STL. Overall, an impressive debut, not to worry, he'll definitely get the PPG column to rise as the season progresses.
-In the first half, Herb Pope and Ryan Bacon of SPC were both warned to stop pushing and shoving. This was extremely odd as SPC was actually taking the ball up the court when the referees stopped the game, didn't charge a foul to either player and warned them to cut it out. Boxing anyone?
-Who said the Pirates can't win without Jeremy? The BE Conference's 2nd leading scorer a season ago was held without a FG on 0-for-10 shooting, including 6 missed 3Pt attempts. He finished with more personal fouls than points, 4-to-2. After the game, Gonzo remarked that he didn't think Hazell had been held without a FG before in his collegiate career.
There is no cause for panic, Hazell was simply trying to do too much, as he was often required to do last season. His shot selection was bad and he was clearly frustrated throughout the game, but he'll snap out of this quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if he drops 30 on Monmouth Sunday, keep shooting kid.
-Eugene Harvey came off the bench for the first time in his Seton Hall career. After the game, Bobby stated that Harvey was coming off of an injury (thigh bruise) and felt that Theodore would provide the Pirates with a spark. I thought Gonzalez was going to play the demotion safe with the media, until he dropped the old, "no one is safe" line with his very next sentence. Read more about the press conference here, which included an odd exchange with a reporter regarding Keon Lawrence's shirt.
Whether Harvey played with a chip on his shoulder or not, he easily had the best overall game for the Pirates including hitting the 28 foot game winner. He finished with 16PT (7-for-16) 6REB and 4AST in 32 minutes, compared to Theodore's 25. Whatever the case, I don't expect to see Harvey playing the role of super-sub again in the near future.