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The Morning After: Lack of Defensive Discipline Leads to Must Win Out Situation

The Pirates shot a better percentage from the FT line than the Mountaineers (80%-to-71%) in Saturday's, 75-63 WVU victory, however the game would ultimately be decided by quantity, not quality.  West Virginia got to the stripe 38 teams, even though 12 of the attempts came intentionally as the game was falling out of Seton Hall's grip. In comparison, the Pirates had 15 attempts, was this a case of home-court officiating? Absolutely not.  The Pirates committed 28PF opposed to just 16PF from the Mountaineers. 

All season, the Pirates have been hurt by their opposition getting into the bonus with entirely too much time remaining in the halves.  A lack of defensive discipline leads to silly fouls and frankly, there's been too many silly fouls this season, especially with the opponent in the bonus.  Silly fouls lead to free points, the determining factor in last night's game. With 9:11 remaining in the first half, Jeff Robinson's 7th team foul sent John Flowers to the FT line (after the double-technical) to shoot a one-and-one, Flowers made both.  Seton Hall lasted one second longer in the second half, as Robert Mitchell committed the 7th team foul with 9:10 remaining in the game.

Needless to say, if the Pirates were as disciplined as the Mountaineers yesterday and each team reached the line at a comparable rate, Seton Hall would have left Morgantown victorious.  Until we see an attention to discipline on the defensive end, the Pirates will continue to send their opponent to the line early and often, handing over free points.  The lack of discipline defensively has been a thorn in the Pirates side all season.  It's also a large reason as to why they've failed to record a marquee road victory this season, facing a must win-out situation just to get back in the bubble conversation.  

GB's initial post game thoughts, death by free throw:

In Newark, the Pirates were able to erase a 10 point deficit with 56 seconds remaining, due to poor Mountaineer FT shooting, however they showed great improvement this afternoon, scoring all of their final 12 points on made FTs, death by FT.

SHU Athletics recap:

The Pirates came storming back with a ferocious 14-0 run highlighted by a breakaway dunk from Jeff Robinson to pull Seton Hall to within three, 63-60, with 3:01 left to play. But the Pirates would be outscored 12-to-3 for the remainder of the game. All 12 of West Virginia's points came on free throws as the Mountaineers did not have a field goal in the game's final 9:05.

Bob Huggins wasn't pleased with his team's 71% and 38%, free throw and field goal shooting: 

"We had every opportunity to put the game away and we continue to miss free throws at inopportune times and then we continue to not run offense when it's time to run offense," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. "You can only talk to them so much about it and at this point in time of the year, it's going to come down to guys are going to come and sit down and watch because we're not going to continue to do this."

Bob Hertzel reports on Jeremy Hazell's struggles as he attempts to cope his the injury to his shooting hand:

It turns out, however, that Hazell can't quite score that prolifically playing with one-hand figuratively tied behind his back. Playing with a gash on his shooting hand mysteriously suffered in the St. John's game that required eight stitches, Hazell hit only 2 of 10 shots and scored just nine points as No. 8 West Virginia beat the Hall, 75-63, Saturday before 11,816 fans at WVU Coliseum.

Hazell proved in the shootaround on Friday night that he could shoot the ball, but there obviously were major problems Saturday as he threw up a couple of air balls early and even somehow managed an air ball on an alley-oop from no more than two feet from the basket.

It looked as if the injury was clearly weighing on Jeremy's mind, from the missed alley-oop, to looking a bit hesitant in his penetration to the rim.  It's understandable, we're just hoping that Jeremy can return to near full strength for Rutgers on Tuesday.  

Lastly, Jerry Carino is all but closing the book on any NCAA Tournament hopes:

The Pirates (15-10, 6-8) are now out of chances to register a signature road win, which means their NCAA Tournament hopes are pretty much shot. The road resume is one of the most important criteria for the NCAA selection committee and a November victory at Cornell is just not enough.

In order to even get onto the bubble now, the Hall has to run the table (home-and-home with Rutgers, home vs. Marquette, at Providence) and win two games in the Big East Tournament. In other words, they need a six-game winning streak just to rejoin the conversation. Of course, lose to Rutgers Tuesday and you can read the last rites while the alma mater is playing.

Seton Hall will return to The Rock for their final two home games, Rutgers on Tuesday night and Marquette on Sunday.