Momentum is a powerful thing.
I wrote that on my preview of this game. And it ended up being the beginning of the end of the Pirates' chances to win this game.
The full thoughts:
- Critical stretch
The Pirates played so well on defense and well enough on offense to build up a 25-14 lead with 2:57 to go in the first half on a Patrik Auda three-pointer (generated from very nice ball movement, I might add). Then it all went the way of Notre Dame football coaches in the past decade- OUT THE DOOR. An 8-0 run to close the half out, including a "Really, man?!" three from Tim Abromaitis at the buzzer that cut the Seton Hall lead to three zapped about 90% of the fight out of the Pirates. It was a real shame because that first 17 minutes of defense were tremendous, as well as they've played all year on D. And they've been terrific on defense this year anyway, but Saturday night was pretty special on both the effort and positioning fronts.
- More History for Hazell
Jeremy Hazell hit his first shot of the game, a three from the left side under moderate duress, to make him the most prolific three-point scorer in Seton Hall history. He scored 14 PTS, which moved him into 3rd place all-time in scoring at Seton Hall. That's likely where he'll end his Seton Hall career in terms of scoring. It's a pity that, like Marshon Brooks this year, he never really got the chance to show his talent off nationally because of the record of the team.
Umm, dirty little semi-secret: Herb Pope has been awful lately. Now, is it the season wearing down on him because he had to expound so much energy just to get back into shape? Perhaps. But the lines he's thrown up since he slapped a 23-10 on Providence are below his normal level of production. He's averaged 7.2 PTS and 4.7 REB in the 6 games since that win over the Friars. Take out a 12-6 at Rutgers, and you get an anemic (by Pope's standards) 5.2 PTS and 4.4 REB. Not coincidentally, the Pirates have dropped 5 of those 6 games. He's shot it at a 5-19 clip in the last 3 games, and fouled out twice in those 6 games. Someone needs to light a fire under Herb to check if he's still alive out there.
- The Big English
Am I the only one that thinks Aaron Geramipoor is doing pretty well? On Saturday night he grabbed 4 REB in 7 minutes with no personal fouls. On defense, he was yet again great on his rotations, forcing a few tough shots from the Irish. Help defense, especially for a big man, is the hardest thing to get down, and Geramipoor, after having mono and missing half the season, has got it down pretty well given those circumstances. Some added muscle and work on his hands and he'll be a solid player for the Hall.
- St. John's on tap
The Pirates will face the now-ranked St. John's Red Storm on Thursday night in prime time on ESPN. As the unofficial Chief Seton Hall-St. John's play-by-play guy, I'll be calling the action with color by John Lopiano, making it the first ever all-South Orange Juice broadcast. Tune on in if you can!
A full preview of the game will be up on Wednesday, but for now, just know that it's a big game because of the local rivalry, and I expect the Rock to be rocking. It will be the only way to slow down Dwight Hardy and the Red Storm.
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