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Thursday, January 06, 2011


After a Preston Knowles steal and a Mike Marra three-pointer at the 10:19 mark of the first-half, Louisville was up 24-2 on visiting Seton Hall in a BIG EAST conference game. Kevin Willard had already burned two of his timeouts and used two media timeouts to frantically make adjustments, but nothing was working as the Yum! Center crowd was put into a frenzy by the opening run of the Cardinals.

In those first 9+ minutes, SHU turned the ball over 7 times and missed on 14 of their first 15 field goal attempts. Quite the rude homecoming for Willard, who served as an assistant and associate head coach to Rick Pitino for six seasons at Louisville and is the son of Ralph Willard, the Pitino's current Director of Basketball Operations.

"We got off to a great start," Pitino said afterwards. "A lot of good things happen for you defensively when you get off to a start like that, but believe it or not, there are so many times in a game of basketball when you see a team up 18-2, 19-2, and the other team comes back. We did a very good job of making sure we kept that distance."

The Pirates were never able to get within 12 points the rest of the game and after taking a 36-21 lead at the half, UL quickly pushed the lead to 28 points, 56-28, when Marra connected on three foul shots with 12:19 left in the game.

"It was hard coming back," said Willard. "We knew coming in after the Kentucky game that they would be ready to go and they did a good job at jumping on us and taking advantage of mistakes we made. It's tough to come back when you're down 24-2."

Freshman Fuquan Edwin led SHU with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

"Fuquan has continued to play well all year," said Willard. "He brings a lot of energy in practice. He brings great energy in games. He going to continue to get better as the year goes on."

The Pirates fall to 1-2 in the conference and just 7-8 overall. Next up for SHU is a home date with undefeated Syracuse, Saturday at noon. Seton Hall is 15-44 all-time against the Orange. The Pirates have dropped their last four meetings with the Orange, including an 80-73 setback last year at the Prudential Center. As expected, no rest for the weary in the BIG EAST and the former mentor had some advice for his pupil, whose team has now lost four of their last five games.

"Coach and I talk quite often," said Willard. "He just said keep your head up and keep working. The same thing he always says."


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Paterson (NJ) Catholic products Jordan Theodore and Fuquan Edwin paced the Pirates in a 78-51 win over Longwood at the Prudential Center in Newark (NJ) Monday night.

Theodore scored 17 points and added 7 assists while Edwin also scored 17 and grabbed 9 rebounds. Jeff Robinson contributed 15 points of his own.

After the Pirates saw their 17-point halftime lead cut to nine, 56-47, with 10:20 remaining, SHU put the game away with a 16-0 run and cruised home to their second straight win and improved to 6-4 on the season.

SHU scored 28 points off of 22 turnovers and held a 42-30 advantage on the glass.

The Pirates return to action on Sunday, December 19, against NJIT. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


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Thursday, December 09, 2010


The Big East has been flexing its muscles in the early part of the 2010-2011 college basketball season as the dominant conference thus far. Last night the SEC took a small bit of wind out of the sails of the conference by sweeping both contests in the DirecTV SEC/Big East Invitational played at Freedom Hall in Louisville (KY). In the opening contest, Arkansas got past Seton Hall by the score of 71-62 and the evening was closed out with No. 17 Kentucky using a strong second half to put an end to the undefeated start of No. 23 Notre Dame, 72-58.

In the evening's earlier contest, Arkansas used an 11-0 second half run to regain control of the game after watching Seton Hall erase a 17-point 1st half deficit to take a 51-50 lead with 7:05 left on a pair of Jordan Theodore free throws.

Theodore led the Pirates with a career-high 24 points and the junior point guard also added five assists and four steals in the contest.

After starting the game on a 7-2 run, the Pirates fell apart and the Razorbacks took advantage with a 29-7 run to take a 31-14 lead with 5:39 left in the half. During the 10:18 stretch, Seton Hall was just three of 14 from the field and committed four costly turnovers.

Already playing without leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, who had surgery to repair a broken bone in his non-shooting wrist, coach Kevin Willard sat starting power forward Herb Pope for the first half due to a violation of team rules. Pope finished the game with 8 points and 9 rebounds in just 17 second-half minutes and, along with Theodore, sparked the SHU second-half comeback.

A Pope dunk sparked the 15-5 run that helped put SHU back in the lead, but Arkansas made key plays down the stretch while Seton Hall failed to execute and finish off their comeback. The Pirates are now just 1-3 without Hazell.

Arkansas outrebounded Seton Hall 45-38 and had 42 points off the bench, led by Julysses Nobles scoring a career-high 19 points and Marshawn Powell adding 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Seton Hall will continue to play away from home on Saturday night when they take on UMass in a non-conference road contest.


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Monday, March 01, 2010


Forgive the Seton Hall fan you know if he is a little cranky this morning. After all, his beloved Pirates took one in the gut yesterday on their home floor in the Prudential Center in an 84-83 overtime loss to Marquette. For the Golden Eagles, it was their third consecutive road win, all coming in overtime. When their three-game stretch began, they were 7-6 in the conference and very much on the NCAA Tournament bubble as SHU, who was 6-7 with two of their next three at home at the same point.

But the Pirates lost two of their three and yesterday's loss dropped them to 0-4 in overtime games as the scene unfolded in a familiar pattern on Sunday. Seton Hall's Bubble Pops After Coach Loses Cool (NY Post) and Bobby Gonzalez added to his league leading total of technicals in the first half, costing his team a point, one I am sure he wished he had back.

For Pirate fans the loss seemed to be as agonizing as seeing the dealer pull 21 from the deck in a hand of blackjack to better your hand of 20. This was a game that Seton Hall needed for their NCAA Tournament chances as they were facing another bubble team on their home floor with an emotionally charged crowd on senior day.

Following the Bubble Burster (Hoops Haven) there was fingers pointed for the loss, mostly from the coach in direction of his two front court starters (quotes provided by Jerry Carino):

“John Garcia is a wonderful guy, it’s Senior Day and I’m glad I started him," Gonzalez said after the game. "Unfortunately this might have been the worst team in the league to start him against because of the match ups. We really didn’t have anybody to put him on. Lazar Hayward took full advantage of that and made threes. I had to make a change right away. We got off to a rough start at home in a very important game, and then we played from behind pretty much the whole afternoon.”

--John Garcia played two minutes. Watched a Marquette game about a week ago against Pittsburgh, Gary McGhee, not the most nimble player defending on the perimeter, was a dominant force at 6'10, 240 against the Golden Eagles and Hayward struggled.

“I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get more out of Herb today," said Gonzalez. "I don’t know what it was. He kind of had an uneventful game. I keep asking him if he’s fresh, he looked fresh in practice. We gave them a couple of days off after the Rutgers game. He seemed bouncy. I don’t know . . . I expected Herb to do more.”

--Pope would seem to be the player that would give MU the most fits inside with his size, but the Pirates have no understanding how to get him the ball, and haven't all season.

Marquette plays small and if you play to them, they take advantage. SHU got a big game from Jeff Robinson, but Robert 'Stix' Mitchell, often their best all-around player this season, only got nine minutes. Keon Lawrence, their best perimeter defender, only played eight minutes. Lawrence seems over-used in most games, then nearly disappears today while the MU back court players carry the Golden Eagles offensively. Lawrence was in during the final SHU possession, done by three, despite being a 13% shooter from beyond the arc on the season, while Jordan Theodore, who was four of four on the day on three's, was not on the floor.

The Pirates are 7-9 in a season with high hopes. They could win their last two and finish 9-9 and have the talent to make some noise in Madison Square Garden. However, they have to go on the road against Rutgers and Providence in what will be emotional atmospheres as both teams look to send off their seniors in style, liking nothing more than to beat the rival Pirates. The heart-breaking loss on Sunday can have this team go in many different ways. Can Gonzalez survive two losses and another 7-11 conference mark? 7-11 was not good enough for a NIT bid last season and might not do it again this year. That would be four consecutive seasons of not making the NIT as well as an NCAA. Do not forget, his predecessor, Louis Orr, made the Big Dance in two of his last three seasons, including the year he lost his job...


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010



NEWARK, NJ - Seton Hall’s 64-61 over Pitt at the Prudential Center on Sunday victory was significant on several counts.

It was the first victory over a top ten (Pitt is ninth) team during Bobby Gonzalez’s tenure in South Orange.

It was the Pirates second straight win, just three days after a thriller over Louisville.

It was a game the Hall beat Pitt at what the Panthers normally do best, defend in a ‘grind it out game’, per Gonzalez.

Possessions / Offensive Efficiency
Seton Hall.......65.................99

The offensive efficiency (points per possession multiplied by 100) signifies a defensive battle but one where the Hall defense was notable better. The Pirates forced 20 turnovers by Pitt (13 the first half) and held their opponents to a 35% shooting afternoon. The turnover situation was especially troublesome to Pitt coach Jamie Dixon considering the Hall did not utilize full court pressure. The miscues were forced through some tough half court defense. “We made some bad decisions especially in shot selection,” Dixon said.

Jeremy Hazell of Seton Hall went to the bench with his third foul with 13 minutes left in the half. He returned after halftime but picked up his fourth foul six seconds into the half. Hazell retuned late and made a few big plays in the stretch. Overall Gonzalez had his junior guard only 16 minutes but he did score 9 points.

In Hazell’s absence Herb Pope had a huge game. Setting up on the blocks Pope muscled his way for a team high 19 points , 9 rebounds. He shot 8 of 12 from the field, a significant mark as evidence the Hall was not solely perimeter oriented. In fact only 13 (23%) of their field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.

Pitt trailed 30-19 with two minutes left in the half and closed out on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 30-26 at the break. The Panthers fell behind by eight the second half but battled back to make it a one possession game in the stretch. Ashton Gibbs missed a contested three with seconds left then missed a desperation heave near half court after getting a loose ball.

Gibbs, a New Jersey native who starred at Seton Hall Prep, led all scorers with 23 points. He was 14 of 14 from the line and shot onl 4 of 15 from the floor.

“We need guys to make shots,” Gonzalez said. “With Jeremy (Hazell) on the bench that long and winning , it shows we are a good team and can play different ways.”

Dixon frequently referred to ‘execution’ as his team’s problem. “We have tp get a better understanding of how to play,” he said. “We still have some improvement to make.”

The 66 possession pace is a half court tempo as Gonzalez pointed out. The Seton Hall mentor noted it was different than the faster paced Louisville game. Actually that contest was only two possessions faster but it did have more transition opportunities and breaks. The Pitt game was mainly half court with few transition possessions.

Hall now faces a tough stretch, South Florida, Villanova and Pitt, all on the road.


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009


There is not much bite in the Seton Hall pre-conference schedule this year, so their Monday night match-up with UMass had some urgency to it as the Minutemen have a solid resume as a college basketball program. The Pirates played with the sense of urgency as well as Seton Hall Dominates UMass 86-68 in a Game Players Saw as a 'Must Win' (Star-Ledger). SHU, which improves to 7-0 on the season, raced out to a 44-19 halftime lead and cruised in the second half for the win.

Sophomore transfer Herb Pope led the charge with 22 points and 15 rebounds, with 16 and 10 coming before halftime as Pope Propels Seton Hall in a Laugher ( despite battling a stomach virus that left some doubt prior to the game of his availability.

Jeremy Hazell added 21 points and Robert Mitchell scored 13 and Jordan Theodore added 12 for the Pirates. The SHU defense held UMass to a sub 30% shooting percentage, 22-75, from the field and forced 16 turnovers, many in the first half that set the tone early.

Melvyn Oliver, who was recently 'removed' from the team to concentrate on academics, returned to the team this week and played 9 minutes Monday. Oliver scored three points and grabbed three rebounds.

Seton Hall is back in action at the Prudential Center this Saturday when they host VMI. After a week off the Pirates host Temple (12/19) in a game that will mark the debuts of transfer students Keon Lawrence (who has been suspended indefinitely from the team) and Jeff Robinson (sitting out NCAA mandated period as a transfer student) as Pirates in a regular season game.


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Friday, December 04, 2009


Seton Hall continued their unbeaten start, moving to 6-0 on the season, as the Pirates Overcome Slow Start to Take 89-56 Win Over Hartford (Star-Ledger). Senior guard Eugene Harvey scored 11 points and added 14 assists and four steals, leading the balanced SHU attack. Jordan Theodore provided 17 points off the bench, and Jeremy Hazell and Robert Mitchell each added 15.

Up next for Seton Hall is a contest with UMass at the Prudential Center in Newark on Monday. The Pirates close out the first semester 12/12 by hosting VMI and a week later, December 19th, SHU will host Temple. The Temple game is interesting because mid-year transfer Jeff Robinson, who was previously at Memphis, and Keon Lawrence are eligible to play. Lawrence found out yesterday that his team suspension will be lifted prior to the game with Temple and he can rejoin the team on the court.

As coach Bobby Gonzalez awaits his reinforcements, he has been trying different combinations on the court as the Seton Hall Men Audition in Victory ( by playing in different roles and combinations.

"In games like this you can do that," said Gonzalez in The Record. "You can shuffle guys in and out. You can send messages to guys. You have leeway."


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