When the student section begins to chant Darnell Gatling's name, you know something went well. Real well.
Seton Hall came out of the gates on fire. Jeff Robinson drilled three treys in the first 5:20 of the game to extend the lead to 15-5 and the Pirates never looked back. In fact, the Pirates led by 8 or more points for the final 33 minutes of the game and never trailed.
The Pirates built upon a gutty win over St. John's on Thursday night by running over a Marquette Golden Eagle team that needed a win to improve their NCAA tournament resume.
- Who would have thought that a freshman would give the best performance of his short career on Senior Night? Patrik Auda took over the reigns for foul plagued Jeff Robinson and put up 14 points on 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Auda also led the team in rebounding with 6.
- Its hard to stop Seton Hall when their scoring is as balanced as it was tonight. Six players were in double figures, while Patrik Auda, Aaron Geramipoor and Anali Okoloji put in major minutes off the bench in place of Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope. Anali didn't get a place on Sportscenter's Top 10 plays for his filthy put back, but he did get this mention.
- The defense. Seeing this team defend on TV and in person are two very different things. Marquette moved the ball well on offense, but the Pirates are very active when defending. A combination of zone and man was able to stifle the Golden Eagles on offense despite the enormous amount of fouls that were called on Seton Hall. Coach Willard also did a great job of utilizing his full bench to compensate for the foul trouble that Jeff Robinson, Herb Pope and Patrik Auda found themselves in.
- The officiating was all around bad. A lot of questionable calls, confusion amongst the refs and quite of few missed calls. Much like the previous game against St. John's (was it the same crew?), there were a lot of fouls called, 53 to be exact. As just about every announcer likes to say when calling a Big East game, "If there's no blood, theres no foul in Big East Basketball". The referee crew that called last night's game certainly doesn't believe in that cliche.
- I don't usually call out opposing players, but come on Jae Crowder, what was that? The junior averages 12PPG and 7RPG but only scored 1 point while hauling in 3 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. That defines a dud. Crowder put up 12 and 8 against Seton Hall in the first meeting.
- Seton Hall channeled their inner Memphis of 07-08 at the free throw line tonight. The Pirates missed 16 free throws, finishing 23-39 (59%) from the line. The most surprising thing was that Jeremy Hazell looked uncomfortable from the stripe, missing four of his nine attempts.
- I'm not usually one to complain about attendance, but it really irked me last night. Not because it wasn't a sellout, and not because it wasn't loud - it was. But it was Senior Night and there were a ton of empty seats when Jeremy Hazell, a kid who has played his tail off from Day 1, trotted onto the court for the Senior Night ceremony. Is it too much to ask of Seton Hall fans to get to the arena 10-15 minutes before the tip to honor one of, if not the best Pirate to never make it to the NCAA tournament? Its really their loss I guess. It was a special moment because I think I know just how much it meant to Jeremy - its a shame it didn't mean as much to a lot of "Pirate fans". He deserved better.