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The Morning After: TU Defense, Poor Shooting Dooms Pirates

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Read my initial Post-Game Thoughts here.

That didn't go exactly as planned.

Herb Pope hit a jumper that put the Pirates up 44-31 with 15:56 remaining and it seemed that Seton Hall was well on it's way to putting away their opponent, much like their previous eight.  However, the tide would turn instantly as TU reeled off a 17-3 run, giving the Owls a 48-47 lead with 10 minutes remaining, their first lead since 5 minutes into the game, when they went up 10-9.

Getting the newcomers involved in the rotation clearly upset the flow of the team's offense.  Gonzo made some questionable substitutions throughout the game, which seemed to have been proved costly.  For one, why did Jeff Robinson (15min), making his first appearance as a Pirate, receive 5X the amount of playing time as Ferrakohn Hall (3min) and 3X as much as a reliable John Garcia (5min.)

The logical thought on Garcia would be that his injury is lingering, but if so, why was he in the starting lineup, only to be immediately pulled?  A pride thing for the senior? I certainly hope not, as we saw Gonzo sit Harvey earlier in the season.  If Garcia is hurt in any way, he needs to sit, not start the game, play a few minutes, then sit for the remainder of the game.  Ferrakohn Hall who recorded 5/5/6 REBs in his last 3 games saw hardly any action, while Robinson only grabbed 3REB in 15 minutes.  I understand the thought of getting your new guys going, but with Navy coming into town on Tuesday, last night was not the venue to make that attempt. 

As I touched on in the post-game thoughts, Keon Lawrence played exceptionally well off of the bench.  We know the kid was quick and can jump, but he played smart basketball last night, providing one of the few bright spots for the Pirates.  In 28 minutes off of the bench, he put up 11PTS/4REB/4BLK/0TO, seeing action at both the 1 and the 2.  The play of the night in my opinion was Keon's block with 55 seconds remaining.  The Pirates trailed 68-55 and Temple was looking to put the game all but out of reach, when Lawrence was able to get a block under the basket, giving the Pirates one last chance to close the 3 point deficit.  Unfortunately, Harvey would miss a layup and JT would miss a jumper before TU sealed the game with a couple free throws.  

The Pirates will need to regroup and get a grip on their rotation this week against Navy as West Virginia and the Big East games are looming, beginning on December 26th. 

The AP blurb on the contest:
The victory was the fifth straight for the Owls (9-2), who upset nationally ranked Villanova last Sunday.

The loss was the first for Seton Hall (8-1), off to its best start since 1988-89 when the Pirates went to the NCAA Tournament championship game.
SHU Athletics recaps the tough loss:
But Temple would not go away. The Owls used a 12-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from Scootie Randall and capped by a pair of free throws from Ryan Brooks, that gave Temple the lead, 48-47, with 10:54 remaining in regulation.
The tempo of the game was the key to TU securing the victory according to TU Atheltics:
"We want to have the tempo be ours," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "Seton hall is really good at scoring the ball, so obviously we can't beat them if we get in a scoring contest. They are too deep and too talented so we needed to have the tempo to go our way and we did that for the most part."

The Owls may have had the tempo, but they had to win this battle, which featured five ties and 13 lead changes, with an unusual lineup, due to injury, foul trouble and an off-game by senior co-captain Luis Guzman.
Shortly after the game, Herb Pope emotionally described the play of the Pirates writes Brendan Prunty of The Star-Ledger:
"It definitely shows that we’re a fraud right now," said a frustrated Pope, who moments later toned down the assessment of his team’s 71-65 setback to Temple at the Prudential Center.

"We didn’t come back and show defense," Pope said. "Not that we’re a fraud, but we didn’t prove anything yet. We still got a lot more to show. We’ll bounce back, but I’m extremely devastated from this loss because I thought we had them."
The Hall chose the wrong time to hit a serious scoring drought reports John Rowe, of
Seton Hall did not score a field goal in the final 5:37 against the nation’s stingiest defense. After Jeremy Hazell converted only one of three free throws to give the Hall a 63-61 lead with 4:14 to go, Temple responded with a seven-point run that doomed the Pirates.
Seton Hall doesn't deserve any respect, yet.  It's hard to argue with the statement made by Brian Costello of The New York Post:
With a chance to earn the respect it so desperately craves, Seton Hall instead showed it doesn't yet deserve it.

The Pirates suffered their first loss of the season, falling to Temple, 71-65, last night at the Prudential Center, and gave ammunition to the critics, who have questioned their non-conference schedule.
Seton Hall will desperately look to rebound against Navy, Tuesday night at 7PM.  Although, even if they win, their out of conference record of (9-1) will continue to be scrutinized until Big East play begins on December 26th, when we're sure to find out a lot about this squad.