What a whirlwind basketball game.
Rarely do you see such clearly defined and elongated runs in a single game. This game featured them, and once again, the dreaded initials O.T. came up to bite The Hall in the end.
Here are the 5 Thoughts:
- That first half.....
may have been the worst half you will see all year long from this team. The defense was slow to rotate, leaving open lanes and open shots all over the place. The offense made you think "What in the world are they doing?" several times. The inside presence of Gene Teague that marked the first two wins of the season was completely non-existent.
Washington shot over 60% and got 19 PTS off 11 Pirate turnovers, out-rebounded the Pirates by almost double (17-9) and scored 49 points, leading by 16 at the break. Brandon Mobley left the game a couple minutes in with a hyper-extended knee that was one of those instantly diagnose-able injuries. Oh, and Fuquan Edwin had three fouls by the time both teams talked it over in the locker room. If not for a 7-9 showing from deep, the Pirates would have been doomed by halftime.
In short, that's about as bad as it could get. Mark my words- it will be a cold day in hell the next time you see a Kevin Willard-coached team surrender 49 points in a half.
- But that SECOND half......
may have been the best the Pirates will play all year long. At least the first 17-18 minutes of it before Washington picked themselves up off the mat with a 2.75/3 count on them.
Holy canoli. Total 180 by any means you want to consider. The hustle made it seem like the entire team went through a case of Red Bull at halftime. Defensively, the performance you saw from Seton Hall was the team getting back to their normal, extremely stingy ways, forcing tough shots and turnovers by the bunch.
And offensively, Edwin was EVERYWHERE. He got out in transition for scores. He slashed and scored off the dribble. He nailed threes. I mean, he was unbelievable. He showed the total package, and I think we really needed to see that from him.
With Fu percolating like that first cup of coffee on Monday morning, the rest of the team followed suit. The ball movement was crisp and decisive. The threes continued to fall, at times barrage-like. All of it translated into a remarkable 33-11 run to turn that halftime deficit into a 66-60 lead. THIRTY-THREE TO ELEVEN.
I'm honestly surprised this team was able to maintain that momentum for so long with inexperience at point guard and their main post presence continuing to be neutralized, but if that kind of performance is what this team is capable of at their best in November, could you imagine what might happen after a few more months of practice? Anyway, I digress. Can't get too far ahead of oneself.
With the game tied down the stretch, I truly thought that the Pirates had to win it in regulation. Washington had gotten just enough momentum back for it to be an issue. And lo and behold, Patrik Auda got a pretty good look at a game-winning three following a potentially fatal traveling violation by the Huskies. But OT was upon us. And OT isn't usually kind to Seton Hall.
It wasn't tonight, either. Two threes in a row to begin the period sapped the remaining life out of the arena (which was heavily pro-Pirates) and sealed the team's fate. On paper, I thought Seton Hall should have won this game. They were only slightly favored on a neutral court, but I still gave the Pirates a very good shot to win this game. Because of earlier results, the Pirates now move on to face....
- Rhode Island
Facing Ohio State would have been a real nice thing to have on the resume, but instead Seton Hall gets Dan Hurley and the Rams, who gave the Buckeyes a good fight in the early game on Saturday. It will be a reunion of sorts, as Hurley will coach against his alma mater for the first time. Hurley, as you will remember, was a 1,000-point scorer for the Hall in the mid-1990s.
It's his first year rebuilding URI, and while his team is far from a finished product, they do have some nice pieces. JUCO transfer Xavier Mumford is a good scorer, and Nikola Malesevic is a decent stretch-4 man. At the moment, the Rams are really struggling in the shooting department, both from the field and from beyond the arc. They are also struggling a little in the rebounding department due to a general lack of size (Jordan Hare is the tallest Ram at 6'10" but he is only a freshman and is averaging 10 minutes a game in the Rams' first 3 contests). On paper, this is a team that Seton Hall should beat.
But here's the one thing that Seton Hall really needs to do against Rhode Island- the MUST hustle out of the gate. The thing about Dan Hurley and his brother (and assistant coach) Bobby is that they are cut from the same coaching cloth as their father, Bob, Sr. By that I mean that their teams play hard at all times. If Seton Hall comes out like they did against Washington in this game, they will be hurting again.
- Bottom Line
The Pirates need to use this opportunity to pick up the pieces. They are not playing with house money like they would be if the Buckeyes were on the opposing sideline. There are some tough games left in this non-conference slate, and no matter what, we knew that the second game in the Hall of Fame tipoff would be tough.
On a side note, Mobley's condition is one to keep a close eye on. He will have an MRI soon- hopefully it shows some good news.
Hazard Zet Forward.