HAPPY THANKSGIVING, PIRATE FANS!
It wasn't pretty, but it was effective, and eventually, Seton Hall gained total control last night and piled onto their lead as the Black Bears' offense was stifled.
After the game, the more pressing news was the possible loss of Patrik Auda for the year. For more on that, scroll down to Thought 4.
Here are the 5 thoughts from Wednesday's action:
- Dr. Huxtable
Aaron Cosby was fantastic. His 19 PTS tied his career-high, and the Pirates needed those points after once again stumbling a bit on offense. He also added 3 REB, 2 AST and 2 STL off the bench in a very well-rounded performance with only one turnover.
But what was awesome about Cosby's performance outside the box score was that he actually called his own number. When Maine had clawed back to make a little bit of a game of it, Cosby went into attack mode. Three or four straight possessions Cosby took control of the offense, and aggressively gave instructions to screeners, etc., following up his words with strong drives to the basket (resulting in an and-1) as well as an open three.
Last year, Cosby didn't have the driving ability to call his own number like that. He also never had to take the reigns alongside Jordan Theodore. He did both on Wednesday in his most effective game of the season. Progress.
- 1, 2.......4, 5, 6.....
The Black Bears came in as a sub-par outside shooting team, and the Pirates made sure they left as an even worse outside shooting team. Seton Hall's defensive effort for the most part was en pointe, save for the first half relating to Justin Edwards. The combination of zone and man that frequently frustrates opponents did just that to Maine, who came in with really only two outside shooting threats.
That didn't stop Maine from hoisting 17 threes and making only 1 of them, though. Gotta give credit to the Pirates' D for some very good rotations. They also did something else quite well.
The two steal merchants had games that were pretty even with what we've seen from them so far this season. Tom Maayan led the team with 5 AST and got himself 2 STL. He had some freshman moments as well (3 TO). Fuquan Edwin did everything again- 15 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 6 STL on 6-11 shooting and 3-5 from deep.
I mention both in the same sentence to single them out, but really, the whole team (led by Edwin seeming to be in two places at once sometimes) contributed to the effort to steal the ball. It's not every day a team turns the ball over 27 times.
- Auda's Injury
According to athletic trainer Tony Testa (through Coach Willard in his press conference), Auda could be out for the year with a possibly-broken 5th metatarsal. For those who need clarification on what exactly that is, it's the long bone in the middle part of the foot that connects the ankle to the toe. In this case, the little toe (hence, the 5th classification).
I injured this same bone as a 4th-grader, albeit when that happened, it was much less worse (a small hairline fracture) than Auda's is projected to be. I was in a boot for a few weeks because of it, and it hurt like the dickens for a while. Considering I was 4-foot something and a kid, and Auda's 6'9" and less of a kid, you can expect him to be out for a long time if it doesn't indeed end his season.
Coach Willard has already said that if Auda does need to miss the season, he would redshirt him, but in the short term, this really hurts. Already without Brandon Mobley for an undisclosed amount of time (it shouldn't be too long, since the MRI results were positive, according to sources), the Pirates really need to step it up on the boards all across the roster.
I would expect Haralds Karlis to see more minutes as long as both Auda AND Mobley are out considering Karlis' size and springiness. You can also expect Aaron Geramipoor to be on the floor a little more. It's a shame for Patrik because his skill set is so unique, and he was starting to pick things up in relief of Mobley.
Speaking of the latter, the coaching staff hopes to have him back for the LSU game next week. Odds are good that they are hoping even harder for that scenario to play out now.
- "Big Kev"
But let's end on a positive note. Did you see what Kevin Johnson did in garbage time? Here are the numbers- 3 minutes, 5 PTS, 2 BLK, 1 STL. Sure it was garbage time. Sure it was against an undersized opponent. But Johnson got the crowd into the game again at the end, and he did the most with the time he was given. His teammates fed him the ball on the crowd's urging, and dutifully backed down his man in the post, while flashing a shot-blocking ability that may already be the best on the team on the other end of the court in terms of raw ability.
It's nothing to really hype up yet, but really nice to see from Johnson, who hasn't really been able to get up off the bench yet this season.
Hope your Turkey Day is filled with fun, family and festivity. Go Pirates!