Sure, the Maine Black Bears came in to tonight's tilt with an 0-3 record, but they had lost all games by an aggregate of just 8 points to teams with a combined record of 6-3. This was a fairly good recipe for heart-attack Hall to show up, right? Wrong.
Seton Hall never trailed, squashing a pesky Maine squad 76-49. Aaron Cosby had a game high 19 points, followed by Fuquan Edwan's 15. However, the biggest blow of the game was to Patrik Auda's (presumed) broken 5th metatarsal. Jerry Carino first reported that Head Coach Kevin Willard will redshirt Auda if indeed his foot is fractured, stating, " Patrik is more than likely done. (Dr. Anthony Testa) thinks it’s the fifth metatarsal . . . it's three months, but for big guys more like four months; we’ll have to decide on surgery or rest... there is no point in bringing him back if he’s not going to be able to play for three months. I’d much rather redshirt him and have him back for an extra year." No two ways about this, Pirate fans, this is a tremendous loss - especially with the uncertainty of Brandon Mobley's knee. Willard stated he believes Mobley will be back for the LSU game but at this point, it's anyone's guess.
The Pirates were certainly beneficiaries of atrocious long range shooting by the Black Bears, as they shot a miserable 1-17 from beyond the arc. The Seton Hall defense was tenacious at every turn which largely accounted for 27 Maine turnovers. Justin Edwards of Maine was the best player on the court for the majority of the first half tallying 14 points, but the Pirates shut him down in the second half, as he scored just 4 for a team high 18 points. It's important to note that the Canadian native had tremendous body control and absolutely danced around the Seton Hall interior defense - in the first half. As a fan of the game, it was fun to watch the sophomore play.
Aaron Cosby looked like the Cosby of old, but better, nay, smarter. He appears to be fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. His elevation was good on long range shooting and he attacked the rim like he was going back for seconds of grandma's candied yams on Thanksgiving. Defensively, Cosby was awfully impressive and showed no hesitation in his lateral movement - the mark of a healed MCL. Especially with the injuries to the two other key guys (Mobley and Auda) I breathed a sigh of relief to see Cosby so comfortable and confident.
At times, Eugene Teague looked like a child that wandered into a movie. Lost. In the first half he had essentially zero touches down low and was getting crushed on the boards by the Maine big men. Clearly an adjustment was made at the intermission, as Teague looked like a different player; not a 180 degree turn, but maybe somewhere in the 160 degree range (for those of us with spatial thinking prowess).
It must be noted that Kevin Johnson made a cameo when the game became academic, and he looked fairly comfortable in his roll as the 5. He amassed 5 hard fought points, backing his man (men) towards the rim. He also added a thunderous block with seconds left which drew the loudest crowd reaction of the evening. While this is a small sample from which to draw a legitimate conclusion, it was far more impressive than, say, dinner-bell-Mel's appearances on the hardwood.
In the end, victory was ours, and the Pirates move to 4-1. Our well wishes go out to Auda, as this (likely) news must be devastating to the co-captain.
Finally, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I've already picked out some smashing loose-fitting sweat-pants with tired waistband elasticity for tomorrow's feeding frenzy. To the entire SOJ and Seton Hall community, Bob, JP, Chris and I would like to wish you and your families a very safe and happy Thanksgiving.
As always, my friends, HAZARD ZET FORWARD!