-Another wild finish for Seton Hall (12-7, 3-5) as they literally dribbled away their chance to force a 2nd overtime period. The Bulls repeatedly gave the Pirates chance after chance to capitalize and either win or force a 2nd overtime, yet, the Pirates couldn't take advantage.
With 1:45 left in regulation, Gonzo inserted Robert Mitchell into the ballgame who hit a clutch 3PT to pull within 2. In nearly the same situation earlier this year, Stix hit a clutch 3PT against VT with the Pirates trailing by 5 and 30 seconds remaining. The Pirates would end up forcing OT against the Hokies. The Pirates are now 0-3 in overtime this year and 0-3 on the road in Big East play.
After Mitchell brought the Pirates within 2, USF would miss a layup on their next possession and Stix followed with a miss jumper of his own, but Keon chased down the loose ball and hit a floater, tying the game at 65. USF would have a chance to win the game in regulation, but Lawrence played tight defense on Dominque Jones who was actually able to get off a good looking shot that fell just short.
-Robert Mitchell opened overtime converting a layup giving the Pirates a 2 point cushion, but the Bulls would respond. Seton Hall traded buckets with USF's made FTs (8-of-9 in OT) and the two clubs found themselves knotted at 73 with 1:13 to play. After a Chris Howard layup, the Pirates found themselves trailing by 2. A timeout saw a play drawn up for Hazell who didn't end up getting a great look and attempted and missed a 20 footer anyway. Mike Mercer grabbed the defensive rebound and found a streaking Anthony Crater in a similar "touchdown" pass that burned the Pirates in back-to-back games this season against WVU & SYR.
Anthony Crater was streaking towards the Pirates basket, ready to put his team up 4 and all but ice the game when he decided to pull the ball out in an attempt to shave a few seconds off the clock. Pulling up underneath the basket, Crater's foot stepped on the baseline and the Pirates would get another opportunity with 15 seconds to play. The play by Crater was disastrous on so many levels. First, the worst case scenario panned out as he found a way to turn the ball over without getting any points for the Bulls. Secondly, even if he pulled the ball out and ran off 2-3 seconds off the clock, he would still have to shoot free throws. If Crater misses one-of-two, the Pirates would have a chance to tie and force a second overtime. Just an awful decision on all levels, I'm sure after the celebration, he'll be receiving an ear-full.
It's all a moot point as the Pirates couldn't take advantage, again. With 7 seconds on the clock, JT found Herb Pope open briefly under the basket. As Pope went up for the shot attempt he was fouled and rightfully so. Which brings up the point, Gonzo and the Pirates know teams are going to go hack-a-Pope late in the ball game, why give him the entry pass? USF made the right decision and fouled Pope immediately sending him to the line. Herb calmly made the first and was subsequently iced by USF head coach, Stan Heath, who called timeout. Pope missed his second attempt and Jarrid Famous ripped down the board. The clock then began ticking away as Jeff Robinson and Jeremy Hazell stood motionless, looking at Famous holding the ball, apparently confused as to what they were supposed to do. When they realized they needed to foul in that situation, Hazell committed the foul, an entire 2 seconds after the rebound. How are the Pirates unaware of simple situational aspects of the game? Obviously you don't want to feed your 43% free throw shooter when you're down 2 points with 7 seconds on the clock and you can't forget that you need to foul the opponent as the seconds are ticking away!
Famous would proceed to make the front end and miss the second attempt, as Robert Mitchell pulled down the board with 5 seconds remaining. With the Pirates out of timeouts, Harvey was calling for the outlet pass, but Stix decided to dribble it down the court himself, eventually dribbling the ball off of his shoe and into the hands of a USF player. So many chances, so many blunders. The Pirates let an entirely winnable game get away, a game they entirely needed to have. At this point, the Pirates' NCAA tournament hopes look extremely grim, it might require a couple road upsets (I'll settle for one) against 'Nova and Pitt, to have them breathing again.
Follow the jump for a look at individual and team statistics:
-Herb Pope, finished with only 5PTS/17REB/STL/BLK, clearly an off-night as he shot 2-of-10 from the field and 1-of-4 from FT, including his final attempt, which sealed the game for the Bulls. Keep in mind, at least 4 of his offensive rebounds were missed put-backs as he had trouble finishing around the rim all night.
-Jarrid Famous won the battle of the bigs tonight as he dropped 15PTS/14REB. For a poor foul shooter, he stepped up and hit 7-of-11 from the stripe. He looked good shooting his throws, especially late in the game, until his final shot attempt rimmed out, giving the Pirates one final chance.
-Jeremy Hazell and Dominique Jones were each good for 28PTS. Jones was slightly more efficient on 9-of-16 shooting whereas Hazell only converted 9-of-20 buckets, although 5 of them were good from downtown. Hazell was quiet otherwise with only 3REB/AST/STL/BLK, but he didn't shoot his team out of the game, in fact, he kept them in it. His 3PT shooting kept the Pirates alive, but, he also made it a point to drive to the bucket finding the charity stripe 6 times. Jeremy also showed maturation early in the first half. After making his first deep 3PT attempt, on the next possession, he pulled up for his usual 25 foot attempt, however at the top of his apex he found a streaking JT under the basket who converted a reverse layup. It was great to see Hazell looking for his teammates first and his shot second. At least for one play.
-Poor PG play once again helped lead to the Pirates' eventual demise as Keon Lawrence continues to struggle shooting the rock. He finished with 10PTS/6REB/AST and shot just 5-of-14. To be fair, Lawrence did hit a big floater, the tying bucket in regulation. On defense, Jones was good for 28, however, it's hard to get on Keon's defense. He was playing tight shadow defense on Dominique all night, Jones was just hitting contested shots, not much Keon could have done. JT had a quiet night with 9PTS/4AST/3REB in 30 minutes, but protected the ball well and didn't turn the ball over all night. Harvey played 23 minutes off of bench, contributing 5 PTS/2AST/3TO. In terms of ball security, it continues to look like Gonzo's move to JT at starting PG was the right choice. Seriously though, one of these guards need to start making jumpers, I feel like I make this point in every post game recap, maybe it just won't happen this year?
-Could Gonzo go three games without altering his starting lineup? Of course not. Despite consistency paying off with the same starting lineup against Louisville and Pitt, John Garcia suddenly received the starting nod over JRob in order to record 0PTS/0REB/1BLK/0AST/0STL/3PF in 16 minutes on 0-of-0 shooting. I could understand if Bobby wanted size against the USF bigs, but still, with Garcia banged up could he present the physicality that JRob would bring? No. Give Ferrakohn Hall a shot? The only thing Gonzo gave him was his 2nd consecutive coaches-DNP.
...Much more to come in tomorrow's day after post.