First of all, I would really like to thank all those who listened last night on WSOU. I really appreciate all of the compliments, on Hall Line and otherwise. Makes it all the more rewarding and worth-while.
Even more rewarding was the road win that the Pirates got in a legitimate big-time road environment against a home team that had been 82-13 in their building in the last 5 years.
Here are the 5 Thoughts:
- AUDA THIS WORLD
I figured putting that in all-CAPS would illustrate just how enormous Patrik Auda was for Seton Hall last night. He not only notched a career-high 18 PTS, he blocked some big shots, played some great defense, and basically did everything the coaching staff and the fanbase could have ever hoped for in one of the toughest environments in the country. With Herb Pope in true foul trouble for the first time this season, someone had to step up. It was Auda, and it was in a huge way. I would even go so far as to say that he won the game for the Hall with that second half he put forth.
- Run and Gun
The first half was hard to keep up with. Both teams were trying to run (Coach Willard called timeout every time the Flyers were allowed to do so), and even when they didn't get into a fast break, they moved the ball very, very quick on offense and got some great looks at threes. Many of these threes (for both teams) were knocked down while rarely touching the rim. It was quite the sight to behold, as the timeouts were minimal in the first half. The second half was also quick up until the last few minutes, but the pace in the first half (and the fact that the Pirates kept up) is nice to see from a fan standpoint because of the fact that Seton Hall has started slowly in many games this year.
- Deep Thoughts
Or, more accurately, thoughts on the deep ball success the Pirates have had lately. They went 8-16 from deep against Dayton, and in their last 6 games, the Pirates are shooting an almost unreal 42% from deep AS A TEAM. If you take away the 4-15 mark vs Wake Forest, it's actually 44%. Aaron Cosby made his first three to get the Pirates going, Pope made his only attempt, Jordan Theodore went 2-3, and Auda did likewise. If the Pirates keep up this remarkable pace, they could have something really good on their hands.
- The General
Jordan Theodore has been fantastic in his role this year running the show, and last night was no different. It should not be lost in the shuffle what Theodore did against the Flyers. With Herb Pope on the bench with foul trouble, Coach Willard decided to give Theodore a breather (the starters had played for the first 8-9 breakneck minutes in the second half and sorely needed one). With a lineup of entirely bench players on the court, the Flyers began the run that would get them back in the game. Willard saw this, and immediately put his senior point guard back in. The run went on for a little while longer, but it was Theodore's calming influence in the face of danger that also allowed the Pirates to prevail. He was hounded all night by Kevin Dillard, the Flyers' terrific point guard, yet had 8 AST against 2 TOs when all was said and done. Not only that, but he shot the ball well! 5-10 FG, 2-3 3PM shows that he didn't force shots that weren't needed.
That's senior leadership for you- confidence and control in the face of overwhelming pressure. And let me tell you- it was so loud at certain points in the game that I couldn't hear myself talk/scream. Dayton packed that 13,000-seat arena and the atmosphere was intense.
- Looking Ahead
The Pirates with the win ascended to #3 in the RPI according to ESPN, behind only Syracuse and Duke. They now travel to a bandbox called Willett Hall in a town called Farmville, Virginia to take on the Longwood Lancers in their final non-conference game. With Syracuse looming next Wednesday (I'll again be on the call for WSOU, by the way, for that Cuse game), it's critical for the Pirates to play within themselves and not play down the the opponent coming off such a big win. A full preview will be up on the Juice tomorrow morning. Go Pirates!