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The Day After: Hoyas Chomp, Chew, Spit Out Pirates, 85-73

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Tick. Tock.  

That's the sound of an old Timex, surviving on the fumes of leaky battery acid, ready to give out at any moment.  Time is running out for the Pirates to put together a conference record worthy of an at-large NCAA tournament berth.  Following a 85-73 dismantling at the hands of the Hoyas, the Pirates have fallen into a deep hole, sitting at 10-6, but more importantly, 1-4 in the Big East conference.  Yet again, another opportunity to potentially save what's been a greatly disappointing season has eluded Seton Hall.  Still sitting without a marquee victory on their resume, the Pirates are running out of time, powerhouse opponents and options.  From last night's Post-Game Thoughts comment section, I commented on the outlook for the remainder of the season:

No, it's not over yet

And granted the remainder of the Big East Schedule is no where near as tough as these five games have been, quality of opponent, speaking. Having said that, (curb reference) if the NCAA tournament is this squad’s ultimate goal, it’s looking very unlikely. The Pirates would need to close out the remaining 13 games at a clip of 11-2 or 10-3, to finish with a conference record of 12-6 or 11-7, respectively. I think we’d be in with 12 wins and bubble consideration with 10 or 11. It’s not going to be easy by any means and like I said, it’s highly unlikely, but we’ll see, it’s why they play the games.

Taking a closer look at the schedule I think it's more realistic that the Pirates will finish their 13 games with an 8-5 record, bringing their season to a close with an 18-11 (9-9) record.  It surely wouldn't be enough to get into the tournament and a final record well below everyone's expectations.  Still, it'd be 2.5 games better than last season, is that enough? Certainly not.  Not for the amount of hype this team received in the pre-season, not enough for all the hype of the impact-transfers, not enough for the three year contract extension given to Gonzalez in the off-season. An NIT berth? Not enough.  Sadly, that's far from a guarantee at this point.  I see the rest of the schedule breaking down as follows:

Wins: Pitt, At USF, ND, Depaul, At St. Johns, Rutgers, At Rutgers, At Providence

Losses: Louisville, At Villanova, At Pittsburgh, At West Virginia, Marquette 

We've got a lot of down time before the Cardinals come to the Rock next Thursday, for now, let's take another look at the Georgetown Game.  

At least SHU Athletics was honest in their recap of the contest, the box score will show you it was a 12 point game, however, it felt like 20 plus:

Seton Hall upped their defensive pressure and their press created a pair of Hoya turnovers. As a result, the Pirates cut the Georgetown lead to 59-48 with 10:32 left to play. Then, a pair of layups by Keon Lawrence (Newark, N.J.) cut the Hoyas lead to seven, 61-54, with 7:40 remaining. Georgetown, however, would pull away. A three-pointer by Jason Clark, his second in 1:27, bumped the Hoyas lead back up to 14, at 73-59 with 4:26 left. The Georgetown lead would grow to as many as 18, before Seton Hall made a small run in the closing minute of the game to make the final score closer.

SHU must have meant, 'Jeremy Hazell' went on a small run in the final 1:30, drilling two deep 3PT and adding a layup for good measure adding the 8PT differential to change this game from a 20PT laugher to a respectable box score in the morning's paper.  

Georgetown Athletics looks at the second half run the Pirates went on to pull within single digits, halfway through the second half:

Leading by 16 points at the half (44-28), the Hoyas pushed the lead to 19 points on a layup from Wright with 15:56 to play in the game. The lead was still 19 points, 59-40, after a layup from junior Julian Vaughn (Vienna, Va./Oak Hill Academy) with 12:57 left in the game. Seton Hall, however, used a 14-2 run over a span of 4:04 and pulled to within seven points, 61-54, on a layup from Keon Lawrence with 7:53 left to play.

Our friends over at Casual Hoya credit JTIII's halftime speech against Connecticut as carrying over into the Seton Hall contest:

Apparently that halftime speech John Thompson III gave Georgetown against UConn is still lingering in their heads. Shooting 70% from the field, the Hoyas handily defeated Seton Hall 85-73 in Washington, DC. Jason Clark had a career high 20 points to lead Georgetown. Chris Wright played another complete game with 21 points, 7 assists, 4 steals and 1 turnover. The consistency that is Austin Freeman added 16 points on 6-8 field goals

And their Morning After Post:

The Hoyas avoided a let down in impressive fashion last night, handily serving Seton Hall with its fourth loss of the Big East season.  Four starters scored in double figures, the only one not to was our superstar center, Greg Monroe.  Monroe's lack of offense in Big East games has started to spark some media attention.

Follow the jump for more reactions on the Georgetown victory from: The Star-Ledger, Slam, ZagsBlog, NJ Newsroom, NBE, Hoops Haven and a special story on former Pirate, Haitian native, Samuel Dalembert.

Brendan Prunty of The Star-Ledger writes that Bobby Gonzalez saw the let down coming:

All day the signs were there. During the shootaround, during team meetings, and almost immediately after tip-off. The signs that Seton Hall was bound for disaster. Bobby Gonzalez hoped it wouldn’t come to fruition, but it was no use. After close wins and close losses the past month, the Pirates finally had that game where nothing went right and everything went wrong. "I said it to my staff, that I saw it coming a little bit," the Seton Hall coach said afterward. "We’ve played at a high level — win or lose — that at some point, you’re going to have a lull or a letdown."

I hope I'm not the only one disturbed by these comments.  He saw it coming? Especially during shootaround, team meeting and after tip-off?  I don't know what's worse, the recognition of the head coach that his team wasn't prepared and a letdown was imminent or the actual fact that they weren't prepared during shootaround and team meetings? 

Immediately following the game, I sent a tweet to Prunty, asking if Hazell was a candidate for, "Suicide game ball of the year?" His response:

BrendanPrunty 

@GonzoBall You better believe it.

 

Sure enough:

SUICIDES: Jeremy Hazell (17 pts., 0 reb., 0 ast., 2 stl., 2 TOs): We'll say it — his 17 points are a fraud because nine of them came in the final 90 seconds of the game when it was already in hand. Yes, the Hoyas did a good job on him on defense, but Hazell really hurt the Pirates by only playing offense and not even doing that well.

Slam magazine paints a mock-conversation between Bobby Gonzalez and Jeremy Hazell.  

First, Jeremy Hazell attempted only 14 shots, so Bobby Gonzalez must have finally pulled him aside and said, "Look I know you’re averaging 31 ppg in conference play, but you’re putting up more bricks than the real life Air Bud."

It might be time for the actual conversation to take place.  In fact, I called for a coach to player conversation after Jeff Robinson launched his 6th failed 3PT attempt of the season in the loss to Connecticut: 

Jeff Robinson was extremely effective tonight in a role off of the bench, albeit the "once a game terrible 3PT attempt and subsequent miss." He's now 0-for-6 from 3PT on the season, yet continues to hoist away.  Paging Bobby Gonzalez, please put an end to this, there's no reason for it, Robinson's got too pretty of a game around the basket, make it stop!  Is Robinson just not listening to his coach? Or are they allowing him to get away with wasting critical possessions with terrible shots? The mystery continues.

In the two games following? Jeff Robinson is 0-for-0 from long distance! Progress! Maybe Bobby is a reader of Gonzo Ball?

Jerry Carino, of Hoops Haven discusses the struggles of the Seton Hall PGs, surely to be a big topic over the long down week we've got ahead of us:

So who runs the point now? Keon Lawrence got the start and was ineffective. Eugene Harvey asked to come off the bench because he felt more comfortable there. Jordan Theodore, who was the most effective of the three, can’t get consistent minutes because Gonzalez feels a need to play the senior and get Lawrence his minutes. That leaves a rotation that ultimately is more by feel than reason. The offense reflects that. On nights like tonight when Hazell can’t be the shooting star, they struggle to get any flow and find easy baskets.

New Jersey Newsroom has another take on the revolving door:

Gonzalez said he wanted to start Harvey but the senior told him he was more comfortable coming off the bench after the victory over Cincinnati. "I put Keon back in there and he struggled at first so we put Eugene in and he turned the ball over, so we put Jordan in and he turned the ball over," Gonzalez said.

Let's see, maybe because no one is given enough playing time to get comfortable on the floor? Just a thought, but if ice-cold players keep shuffling off the bench, playing tight in fear of being lifted at the sign of their first mistake, we're in for a long season.  Who am I kidding?  We're already in the midst of a long season.  

NBE Basketball Report has the audio of the Bobby Gonzalez presser, listen along as he effectively uses, "ether:"

For Gonzalez’s comments on Hazell’s play, Georgetown’s methodical yet deadly nature – he compared it to "ether" – and the killer 10 first turnovers his crew committed, as well as other topics, enjoy his post game press conference with the media here.

In '88 you was getting chased through your building, Calling my crib and I ain't even give you my numbers,  All I did was gave you a style for you to run with Smiling in my face, glad to break bread with the god!  What? Oh, not that Ether? Moving on.

Gonzo Ball isn't the only voice that isn't happy with Eugene Harvey's demotion this season, former Pirate, Danny Hurley, takes issue with how Gonzalez recently spoke about Harvey on a Big East conference call, as reported by Adam Zagoria:

It shows a lack of loyalty to make comments like that about a particular player," said Hurley, who played at Seton Hall. "In intercollegiate athletics, when your team’s losing, you should hold all players accountable. This is not the NBA. If you’re going to choose just one player, I think it’s wrong to single a player out in the media."

Lastly, a story about former Seton Hall Pirate, Samuel Dalembert's efforts to aid his native country, Haiti, in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit earlier this week:

In fact, Dalembert has done so much for the same community that often boos him, he was awarded the NBA Community Assist Award last February in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the Philadelphia area for his ongoing philanthropic and charitable work.

Understandably, Dalembert was devastated as news trickled in of the catastrophic earthquake in his homeland earlier this week a disaster that has killed up to an estimated 50,000 people and left thousands more homeless, hungry and in despair.

Dalembert himself is scheduled to present a personal check of $100,000 to Caryl M. Stern, the President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, before the Sixers host the Sacramento Kings at the Wachovia Center on Friday.