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Post-Game Thoughts: Seton Hall 58, Pittsburgh 83 as Panthers Storm Through Petersen

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-Well, we can stop talking about what Seton Hall (12-9, 3-7) has to do to make the NCAA tournament.  Pittsburgh defeated the Pirates in a laugher, 83-58, completing a 3 game road sweep that saw the Big East competition beat up on the Pirates.  After falling to USF, Villanova and Pittsburgh, the Pirates will return home licking their wounds, with a new goal for the remainder of the year.  Barring a miraculous run in the Big East tournament, the Pirates will now turn their attention to fighting for an NIT bid.  

-Tonight, Seton Hall quit in the second half against Pittsburgh.  We saw the precedent set by Gonzalez against Villanova where it was ok to give in to defeat as long as they kept the score close.  Tonight, the Pirates had no intention of fulfilling the later, giving up 46 points to Pittsburgh in the second half.  Defense was optional.  

-Speaking of defense, the Seton Hall press was only able to turn the Panthers over 9 times, opposed to 20 times in Newark two weeks ago.  There were too many defensive breakdowns to count, including an early one from Herb Pope in the first three minutes of the game, leaving McGhee wide open under the basket for a quick deuce.  Maybe the loss of Keon Lawrence was more costly that any of us imagined.  No question, Lawrence has been terrible offensively, but he makes a consistent effort to play tight defense, something that was certainly lacking tonight.  The Panthers torched Seton Hall to a tune of 52% from the floor and 46% from long distance.  

-Discipline.  Jeremy Hazell responded to coming off the bench by picking up a technical foul as part of a double-technical with Jermaine Dixon, halfway through the first half.  Not to be outdone, Bobby Gonzalez wouldn't let Hazell tie him in technicals accumulated for the season as Gonzo responded with one of his own halfway through the second half. Herb Pope was fouled and heading to the stripe with the Pirates trailing by 14 when Gonzalez felt it was appropriate to pick up a technical.  You read that correctly.  Pope was fouled and getting ready to shoot two free throws when Bobby Gonzalez iced him, picking up a T, sending Ashton Gibbs to the line to shoot a pair of free throws for Pittsburgh.  After Gibbs made one-of-two, Pope would get his turn to shoot the original free throws and bricked both.  Gonzalez surely knows how to hurt his team at the most inopportune times.  

-Hazell's benching lasted through the start of tonight's game as he was replaced with Robert Mitchell in the starting lineup.  Hazell finished with 2PTS on 1-of-7 shooting and 0-of-5 from long distance.  It looks like the Gonzo/Hazell rift, is clearly affecting his play.  Maybe Hazell is confused as the rest of us, following the 'Nova game, we were told he sat due to bad shot selection.  The very next day we were told that it was actually due to his inability to get back on defense and his refusal to join the team in a huddle during a timeout.  Jeremy led the team in minutes played (32) yet was pretty much nonexistent the entire game.  It'll be interesting to hear how Gonzalez assesses his gameplay tonight.  

-Herb Pope, making his homecoming in his first collegiate game in Pittsburgh, was also a non-factor.  Pope finished with 9PTS/6REB/2BLK/3TO on 3-of-13 shooting before fouling out after only logging 20 minutes.  As of late, Pope's shot selection has been getting increasingly worse.  He's stepping further and further away from the basket, attempting 15-18 foot jumpers often trying to utilize the glass in a Duncan-esque maneuver, it's not working.  Pope needs to get back to banging inside and keeping his range at around 8-10 feet.  

-Eugene Harvey led the Pirates with 12PTS as he made his first start in weeks, filling in for Keon Lawrence who was left home due for personal reasons.  All basketball discussion aside, we hope everything is cool with Keon.  

-Melvyn Oliver got into the game in the first half when Pope left with 2PFs.  Oliver contributed, well, 2PFs in 1 minute of action and that was it.  The Pitt announcers described him as, "listed at 340 pounds, but he's closer to 375." Melvyn needs to get to work in an attempt to shed the pounds if he thinks he's going to make an impact in this conference.  

-Ferrakohn Hall played 10 minutes and looked impressive at times, finishing with 3PTS/4REB/STL. 

-Jamel Jackson provided a bit of life for the Pirates in the first half, hitting two 3PT attempts, but cooled off drastically in the 2nd half, ending the night with 11PTS on 4-of-10, 3-of-7 3PT shooting.  

-Robert Mitchell contributed a very balanced effort tonight tallying 11PTS/7REB/2BLK in 25 minutes, while shooting 4-of-8 from the floor.  These are the types of games we were used to Stix putting up, of course, until Gonzalez significantly cut his minutes once Big East play began.  

-Gilbert Brown led the Panthers tonight with 23PTS/4REB/2AST/2STL as he shot 9-of-14 FG.  Four Pittsburgh Panthers starters ended in double figures, however Nasir Robinson was held scoreless in 12 minutes played. 

-Gary McGhee won the battle inside against Herb Pope as McGhee finished with 12PTS/11REB a much more complete effort than he put forth in Newark (6PTS/4REB).  

-Disappointing and embarrassing won't even begin to describe the laugher in Pittsburgh as Seton Hall played lifeless basketball for the better of 20 minutes in the second half.  The offense had trouble creating open shots for much of the game as Pittsburgh's defense made all the necessary adjustments I predicted they would coming off of the loss in Newark.  When the Pirates had opportunities, they couldn't capitalize as they missed an alarming number of layups and close put-back attempts.  Between the lack of offensive execution, the lackadaisical effort on the defensive end and the lack of discipline on display, yet again, something appears to be amiss between the players and coaching staff.  

...Much more to come in tomorrow's morning after post.