In the latest edition of the "Must Win" saga, Seton Hall grinded out one of the more memorable victories at the Prudential Center this year, topping the Pittsburg Panthers 73-66. The Pirates took their fans on an emotional journey; they looked outstanding, then lethargic, then energized (lather, wash, repeat). That said, make no mistake Pirate fans, Seton Hall showed a refuse-to-lose mentality this afternoon... welcome back, old friend.
Herb Pope turned in another double double with 19 points and 14 boards. He missed a few bunnies too, so those gaudy numbers could certainly have been even fatter. Additionally, Pope hit 4 huge free throws in succession to put the game out of reach in the waning seconds of the game. Equally, if not more important, was Jordan Theodore's effort. The "General" seems to have returned to form, as he tallied 15 points, 9 assists and just 1 turnover. At long last, there appears to have been a confluence of sorts between JT and Aaron Cosby, as Cosby converted on a number of dishes from Theodore, matching Pope's 19 points - good for a team high. Perhaps the late 3 at the RAC gave the freshman a much needed confidence boost? Some of Cosby's 3's were from Hazelian depth (you could literally see the gel in Pitt Coach Jamie Dixon's hair bubbling he was so burned up about Cosby getting those looks. Seriously. Bubbling). Uh, look (Obama); when the Pirates shoot a good percentage from deep, they win games. We've said it all year - this team lives and dies by the three, and today they shot 10 - 23 (5 of which were Cosby's).
I generally don't highlight opposing team individual performances unless they are meritorious, so today I must mention Pittsburg's Ashton Gibbs. At one point in the second half, he just couldn't miss. He scored a game high 26 points including 15 of the final 19 Pittsburg points. As a fan of the game of basketball, it's a treat to watch Gibbs go to work; I just can't imagine how frustrating this season must be for him.
Blue-chip SHU (verbal) commit Aquille Carr was sitting directly behind the Seton Hall bench for today's game. The student section, although sparse, welcomed Carr by chanting his name. Carr didn't disappoint, as he acknowledged the exuberant crowd with a wave and an ear-to-ear smile. There are no two ways about it, Carr was pumped to be there - great to see his energy even if he won't don a Pirate uniform until 2013. I tweeted a picture of his attire, by the way... a Seton Hall hoodie that said "Crime Stopper". Well done, well done indeed. Again, welcome to Seton Hall, Aquille.
With today's win, Seton Hall has now amassed 17 total wins (6 in the Big East) with a minimum of 6 games left before the post-season officially begins (note that I didn't say any 3 or 4 letter acronyms). "So you're sayin' I have a chance...?"
Finally, noticeably missing from the Seton Hall bench was freshman guard Sean Grennan. Our understanding is that there was a death in the Grennan family; certainly our thoughts and prayers are with Sean and his family.
As always, Hazard Zet Forward.