Facing a spread that was inching towards 17 points, an AWOL Aaron Cosby, a doubtful Brian Oliver and a No. 23 ranked Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, led by Fuquan Edwin's 23 points, played valiantly. The Pirates stymied the 8th most efficient offense in the country and went blow for blow with the Panthers for 33 minutes but couldn't close the deal down the stretch, falling to Pittsburgh 56-46.
Quotes from Kevin Willard's post-game press conference:
On two missed one-and-ones down the stretch: "I really thought the game changed when we missed the two one-and-ones, more than anything. That kind of hurt our momentum. I thought that's where the game got away from us a little bit."
Kevin Willard on his defensive approach to the game: "It sounds stupid, but we were trying to make them shoot 3s," Willard said. "It's the direct opposite of what I try to do defensively, but they have such size advantage over people."
Additional quotes from Kevin Willard during his post-game interview with Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin of 1250AM WMTR (courtesy of Jerry Carino):
"They did a good job on Eugene. We knew their size was going to be an issue."
"The guys in the locker room were obviously disappointed but that’s the way this year’s team is going to be—they’re going to fight and scrap, Brian Oliver playing on one ankle, Brandon Mobley playing on one shoulder, guys really giving it their all for the team and this program, that’s what it’s all about."
"There’s no reason we can’t get on a run. I truly believe we’ll get on a run if we keep defending."
On Mobley’s shoulder: "It’s a weird injury. He has no pain until he gets hit. It’s like a bad cavity—you don’t know what’s going on until you take a bite of something and all of a sudden you have pain and the rest of the day it’s throbbing."
On Brian Oliver’s ankle: "We weren’t even going to bring him on the trip, that’s how bad his ankle was. For him to go out there and give us 18 minutes, he chose the team over himself."
"This is something to build on . . . I think we’re going in the right direction although we’re really banged up."
"This has been a really tough season to go through, but I’ve seen a lot of good things I’m really excited about. The only thing I’m not excited about and I can’t control are the injuries."
Gary Cohen on Aaron Cosby before the game: "Taking care of some family matters in Louisville ... It's really unknown when he'll be back---if he'll be back."
Cosby tweeted "You can't judge my choices without knowing my reasons..." this morning. Far from cryptic.
Tray Woodall on Pittsburgh's offensive struggles: "We just didn't shoot the ball well. It was one of worst shooting games of the season. They did a good job of switching up their defenses throwing junk defenses at us. I have to give them credit. We were trying to figure out exactly what defense they were in. They were playing pretty good defense."
Jamie Dixon on Seton Hall's defensive game plan: "It's not often that you shoot a higher percentage from the three than you do inside the field."
Interesting Stats & Notes:
- Last night's game was the final scheduled meeting between Pittsburgh and Seton Hall; the Panthers take a 32-21 series lead to the ACC next season. New beginnings.
- Fuquan Edwin scored 23 of Seton Hall's 46 points but scored just 3 after sustaining an ankle injury (which he played through) with 7:38 to play. Warrior.
- Between the 6:48 and the :40 mark in the second half, Seton Hall scored just 2 points, allowing Pittsburgh to go on a game-clinching 14-2 run. Out of gas.
- Nine Pittsburgh players saw more than 10 minutes of action and their bench outscored Seton Hall's 20-10. Big East depth.
- Assistant coach Shaheen Holloway was not at last night's game due to the birth of his child (congrats to him!) Sha' is scheduled to scout 2013 PG Trey Dickerson (God's Academy, Texas) soon.
- Seton Hall's 2-8 start to Big East play is their worst since 1985-86 when the Pirates started 1-9. Cue the P.J. Carlesimo "darkest years" comparisons.