By Brian Delaney
November 15, 2010
NEWARK, N.J. -- The reset button in college sports can be unforgiving, as evidenced by the ease with which Seton Hall overwhelmed Cornell on Sunday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
Preying on the absence of point guard Chris Wroblewski, the Pirates employed a 2-2-1 press that bothered Cornell, and offensively had little trouble carving up the Big Red's first half man-to-man defense in a 92-68 outcome.
Seton Hall got out to a 27-8 lead and was never threatened.
"More disturbing than anything else for us is the fact that we're playing passively," Cornell coach Bill Courtney said.
It was a difficult time for a team regrouping from the mass graduation of eight seniors, adjusting to a new coaching staff, and missing its best player, to play a Big East opponent. Between Friday and Sunday, 80 minutes of inconsistent basketball clarified how long the road ahead is.
Cornell (1-1) will play at home for the first time Wednesday night against Delaware. The 2009-10 Ivy League championship and Sweet 16 banner will be raised in a pre-game ceremony. Afterward, the Big Red hopes to have its leader back on the court. Wroblewski is rehabbing a sprained ankle suffered Oct. 30 in a scrimmage.
"If you ever watched Peanuts before, it's like Linus without his blanket," Courtney said. "And so we're missing our blanket right now, and hopefully we'll get it back soon."
Sweeping this season-opening road swing was not a likely scenario. But beating Albany and giving Seton Hall a tough, disciplined, Ivy-like test would have sufficed.
The latter never materialized, due largely to Cornell's inexperience. The Big Red (1-1) endured a brutally ineffective stretch of offense early: little movement away from the ball -- hesitation by shooters, too much one-on-one creation, and open shots that didn't fall.
And that was only after the Red beat backcourt pressure from the Pirates' 2-2-1, which was designed not to force turnovers as much to frazzle Cornell's young crop of ballhandlers. It worked well, as Cornell missed 19 of 24 shots from the three-point arc.
"They like to get up and down and shoot a lot of 3s, so us being able to run our 2-2-1, slow them down, it also helped us getting out too, and stay on their shooters," Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore said. "Even though they still took a lot of shots, we had a hand up on them."
Jeremy Hazell led all scorers with 28 points, but 16 came in the second half when the game was essentially decided. Seton Hall held a 46-29 rebounding edge, and scored 25 points off 15 Cornell turnovers.
Aaron Osgood scored 19 points for Cornell. Juniors Max Groebe and Andrew Ferry, both of whom played key offensive roles in Friday's win at Albany, were held to a combined two. Sophomore Errick Peck got in foul trouble early and played just nine minutes.
"This is our second game playing together, pretty much," Osgood said. "It'll come with time. We're getting Chris back soon, and he's going to be the floor leader and things will get a lot better with him back."
In the halfcourt, the Pirates had no trouble getting whatever shot they wanted. By halftime, they nearly rebounded half (11) of their 23 missed shots.
Seton Hall (1-1) parlayed all those things into a quick double-digit lead. Particular players, starter or reserve, didn't matter. Just about every player coach Kevin Willard used found open space to score.
Cornell's deficit grew steadily, from 11-5 to 22-8 to 34-12. The Big Red trailed 50-35 at halftime, and never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Senior Adam Wire said Cornell's help defense wasn't sharp enough early.
"I think we were hugging our guys," Wire said. "We let them play one on one. We were talking about playing team defense, and the point guy -- we all collapse on him. I don't think we did that tonight."
NEWARK, N.J. - The Seton Hall men's basketball team picked up its first win under new head coach Kevin Willard with a 92-68 victory over Cornell on Sunday afternoon. Senior Jeremy Hazell (Harlem, N.Y.) led all scorers with 28 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor.
Senior Jeff Robinson (Trenton, N.J.) picked up a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. Junior Jordan Theodore (Englewood, N.J.) had a strong all-around game with 10 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in just 22 minutes of action.
The Pirates (1-1) raced out to an 11-5 lead after a Hazell three from the right wing with 16:16 to go in the first half. SHU pulled away with a 14-0 run and held the Big Red (1-1) scoreless for a span of 4:31 to take a 16-point lead with 9:50 to go.
A free-throw by Patrik Auda (Brno, Czech Republic) gave the Pirates their largest lead of the half, 42-18, at the 4:38 mark of the opening period, but Cornell limited SHU to just four points during the final 2:24 of the frame and trailed, 50-35, heading into the break.
Junior Herb Pope (Aliquippa, Pa.) was active to start the second half, scoring five straight points to build the lead back up to 23 with 14:57 remaining. Later, he channeled his inner quarterback and hit Hazell with a pair of long passes for easy baskets to push the margin to 78-51 at the 7:38 marker, and the Pirates never looked back.
Pope finished with 13 points and six boards.
The Hall dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Big Red, 42-29, and scoring 21 second-chance points. The Pirate defense held Cornell to 36.1 percent shooting for the game.
Seton Hall is back in action on Friday, November 19, against Alabama to kick-off the 2010 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Bahamas. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Osgood scored 17 of his points in the first half, including getting to the free-throw line 16 times. He was the lone Cornell player in double figures, as Anthony Gatlin and Josh Figini added eight points apiece and Erric Peck and Adam Wire each scored seven. Wire added seven rebounds and three steals.
Jeremy Hazell scored 28 points to lead four Seton Hall players in double figures, with Jeff Robinson adding 16 points and 10 rebounds, Herb Pope scoring 13 and Jordan Theodore registering 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Seton Hall shot 43 percent from the floor and dominated on the glass, holding a 46-29 edge. Included were 16 offensive rebounds.
Seton Hall seemingly did everything right in the first 20 minutes en route to a 50-35 halftime lead that was as much as 24 points. The Pirates made 17-of-18 free throws, held a24-13 edge on the backboards and turned the ball over just six times while limiting Cornellto 3-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Cornell left points on the board by missing sevenfree throws. Osgood led the way with 17 points, surpassing his high of 14 reached in Friday'swin over Albany. Johnathan Gray added six points and Josh FIgini came off the bench for ateam-best five rebounds. Freshman Jake Matthews (three points, two assists) earned his first career playing time in the first half.
Three players hit for double figures in the first half led by 12 points by Hazell. Theodore notched 10 points, six assists and five rebounds in 16 stellar minutes.Cornell couldn't make a run in the second half, as the lead never got below 19 and grew to as much as 33.
The Big Red will open its home schedule when it plays host to Delaware on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at Newman Arena in Bartels Hall. Cornell will raise its 2009-10 Ivy League championship and Sweet 16 banner prior to the game.
Cornell Daily Sun
November 15, 2010
ALBANY, N.Y. –– It was the question that had been on every fan’s mind since last March. After losing eight players to graduation –– including four starters and two former Ivy League Player of the Year award winners –– and the most influential coach in program history, what could be expected of the 2010-11 Bill Courtney-led Cornell men’s basketball team? With 8:34 remaining in the first half and the Red down, 22-10, to the University of Albany on Friday night, it seemed fans had an answer. Cornell looked nervous, inexperienced and outmatched against an Albany team that went just 7-25 a year ago –– seemingly the exact opposite type of performance that had been expected during the three previous championship seasons that had brought relevance to the Cornell basketball program.
Not so fast. Although Friday night’s Red team featured plenty of new faces and was without the team’s only returning starter from a year ago –– junior guard Chris Wroblewski –– it showed the same heart of years past and outscored the Great Danes, 25-15, to end the half en route to a 65-61 victory and a 1-0 record for the sixth straight year.
“It was a tough game for us. I think we came out a little nervous, a little hesitant,” said junior guard Andrew Ferry, who saw extended time due to Wroblewski’s absence. “It kind of showed throughout the whole game, but we had enough chemistry and ... something inside us to grind out that win.”
But while the victory exhibited the team’s potential, a blowout loss to Seton Hall in its second game of the weekend on Sunday showed that the Red still has a lot of room for improvement before it can be considered in the same sentence as last year’s team.
So how does this year’s squad match up with the 2009-10 Sweet 16 Cinderella? Last year’s team –– led by Ryan Wittman ’10 –– was defined by the three-point shot, averaging over 22 attempts per game and making an NCAA-high 43.4 percent of those attempts. Friday night was no different, as Cornell netted 10 of 28 three-point shots. Guard Jonathan Gray led the barrage, drilling four of his six attempts from beyond the arc with his biggest conversion giving the Red a 58-54 lead with just more than six minutes remaining in the second half. The sophomore –– who just last year was a team manager –– finished with 12 points off the bench.
“Jonny Gray was huge,” Courtney said in a post-game press conference. “He stepped up big time.”
According to senior forward Adam Wire, Gray had been showing signs of promise far before Friday’s breakout performance.
“He’s been doing that against us all year when we’ve been practicing so we knew he could come in and do that,” Wire said.
Senior guard Max Groebe also contributed from deep, sinking three of five treys on his way to a team-high 15 points. Ferry had a little more trouble finding the bottom of the net, but still accumulated 12 points on three of 12 three-pointers. The junior transfer came through when it mattered the most, nailing a free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining to ice the game for the Red.
“I’m comfortable with the ball in my hands. ... Whatever it takes to help the team win the game, I’m ready to do that,” Ferry said.
Another key piece to last year’s puzzle was big man Jeff Foote ’10. No, the Red did not send a 7-footer onto the floor Friday evening, but senior forward Aaron Osgood did his best Foote impression with a 14-point, 5-rebound effort.
Then there was the spark plug known as Louis Dale ’10. If the Red was a racecar often lapping its opponents a year ago, Dale was the driver; a role that Wire assumed Friday night. While the former and the latter are as different in every aspect of the game as any two players can be, there is no denying the similarities between last year’s spark plug and Friday night’s catalyst. Wire was all over the floor for the Red, diving on loose balls, corralling offensive boards, creating open shots for his teammates and drawing a comparison to the Tasmanian Devil from coach Courtney after the game.
“I felt pretty tired out there,” Wire laughed after the game. “But we had a lot of guys coming in to help out.”
The two points he scored can be deceiving, but the 11 rebounds (six offensive) and eight assists are an undeniable result of hustle and aggressiveness that had even Albany coach Will Brown beaming.
“I wish he were on the waiver wire and I could pick him up,” Brown half-joked in a post-game press conference. “I don’t even know if he scored tonight, but yeah, he was their best player.”
In fact, it was a play by Wire with 8:25 left in the first half that started the initial 15-5 run by the Red that closed the early hole the team had dug for itself. After returning to the game after a long rest and immediately turning the ball over, Wire exhibited a short memory in driving into the lane and finding Groebe for an easy lay-up with a perfect bounce-pass. From that point forward the Cornell, offense found its rhythm, as Groebe connected three more times –– twice from beyond the arc –– and Gray added a trey of his own to pull the Red within one point, 25-26. For the rest of the period, scores rained in from both squads as Cornell entered halftime down just two, 37-35.
The only break in the frantic run came at a scary moment with 5:35 left in the half, when Albany guard and leading scorer at the time, Mike Black, wildly drove down the lane for a lay-up attempt and was called for a charge while landing awkwardly on his left ankle. The result was an ankle sprain for the Great Danes’ best player and a key shift in the game’s momentum.
“[Mike Black] is our guy offensively,” Brown said. “And I don’t think they had an answer for Mike.”
The first seven minutes of the second half proceeded just as the first half had concluded, with Albany holding a 46-44 advantage with 13:47 to play. That was the last lead the home team would hold, as a three-ball from Ferry put the Red up a point. Gray added a three-pointer to extend the lead to six, but three straight buckets from Albany found the game tied once again at 52 apiece. Two more deep balls from Groebe and Gray put Cornell back in control and Ferry’s free throw with 2.5 seconds left shattered any hopes of a late-game rally by the Danes.
“I told [the coaches], ‘that’s the guy I want on the line,’” Courtney said. “It was a sense of relief.”
Tim Ambrose led all Albany scorers with 20 points off the bench, and guard Logan Aronhalt and forward Luke Devlin added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Black had scored 10 points for the Great Danes before leaving with the ankle injury. Errick Peck’s much anticipated starting debut for the Red was anticlimactic, as the sophomore forward finished with three points on 1 of 5 shooting.
Anticlimactic would be a good word to describe Cornell’s second game of the weekend, as well. For the second year in a row, the Seton Hall Pirates handed the Red its first loss of the season in a 92-68 rout on Sunday.
After breaking free on a 26-7 run midway through the first half, the Pirates cruised to victory against the Red. Guard Jeremy Hazell, who scored 33 points in last season’s defeat of Cornell, netted 28 points in Sunday’s encore performance, and Jeff Robinson contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds of his own. Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore added 13 points and 10 points, respectively, to round out the Pirates’ double-digit scorers.
Despite the loss, Osgood continued to establish himself as a low-post scoring threat. The senior scored a career-high 19 points on five of seven shooting and was the only Red player to reach double-digits. Cornell was without Wroblewski for the second-straight game due to his sprained ankle. Wroblewski scored 22 points against Seton Hall a season ago.
November 15, 2010
Everything about Friday night felt wrong for Seton Hall.
After laying an egg in the season-opener against a ranked Temple team, the Pirates spent Saturday trying to figure what had gone wrong. From the offense to transition defense to smart shot selection, coach Kevin Willard put everything under the microscope for his team before yesterday’s game.
“We were really (ticked) off,” guard Jeremy Hazell said.
The message being driven home was that the way the team played Friday wouldn’t cut it for Seton Hall. Consider yesterday’s 92-68 thumping of Cornell in the Pirates’ home-opener a clear sign that the message was delivered.
“Temple killed us in transition,” point guard Jordan Theodore said. “But this game, we didn’t have a lot of dumb shots (where) we got beat in transition.”
Afterward, Willard said that during Saturday’s intense film review, Theodore was the one who was paying closest attention. In the new Seton Hall coach’s system, the point guard holds the most responsibility and controls the rhythm and tempo of the offense. As he digested the Temple tape, Theodore hated what he saw.
Against Temple, the Pirates’ high-powered offense had completely stalled. Hazell had a modest night, Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson were tentative around the basket, and the team as a whole took a number of questionable shots. Even against a Cornell team that is rebuilding from last season’s Sweet 16 run, Seton Hall would have to find answers quickly or risk falling into a rut.
“We watched film for about an hour, hour-and-a-half” Saturday and Saturday night, Willard said.
“Not really the negative things, just all the things we did offensively that just weren’t that good. I thought Jordan really watched the film and studied it and realized what his responsibility is with this team. If he can facilitate offense like that all year, we’ll be pretty good.”
The results were the complete antithesis of Seton Hall’s season-debut. Against Cornell, there was a 28-point afternoon from Hazell, a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes from Robinson, and 13 points from Pope.
And at the center of it all was Theodore.
With a 10-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist game, the Pirates point guard put himself in the place where he expected to start the season. With the offense clicking on all cylinders, Seton Hall made its thrashing of Cornell look easy.
“He sets the tone for everybody,” Hazell said of Theodore. “He’s our floor general. He demands the ball, tells everybody where to go and when he’s on a roll, we know we’ll be all right.”
After each game, Willard compiles a plus/minus chart for the team as a way of showing what was done right and what could be done better. The chart of the Temple game had Theodore’s name dead last.
“I did a lot of things wrong,” he said. “I did a lot of things wrong. On our plus/minus scale, I was the last one.
“I’m the point guard. I should always be first because the ball is in my hands.”
November 14, 2010
FIVE THOUGHTS, FIVE QUOTES
Jordan Theodore set the tone in a lot of ways, but most importantly by dumping the ball inside early. On the first two half-court possessions he found Herb Pope and Jeff Robinson for layups and the Pirates never relinquished control of the paint. Like a true playmaker, Theodore got everyone involved and the offense responded accordingly. Jordan had 10 points, 6 assists, 5 boards and 2 steals in the first half alone.
Watched freshman forward Patrik Auda closely and saw several good things. Willard inserted him with 6:58 left in the first half and let him ride out the period and also played him for a spell after the break. The Czech Republic native is an excellent passer. His flip pass in traffic to a cutting Jeff Robinson in the paint set up two free throws, his quick-touch lob from the perimeter to an open Pope under the basket was a thing of beauty and he fed Ferrakohn Hall in the post for what should have been a layup. Auda also exhibited high basketball IQ by tapping two toss-up rebounds out to open teammates. Quickness is not a strength, but he positions himself well defensively and blocked two shots. Auda finished with 1 point, 5 boards (4 offensive), 3 blocks and 2 assists in 17 minutes.
Jeremy Hazell was a model of efficiency. He scored 28 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-8 from line, and added two assists. It needs to be noted that Cornell is not a good team, but Hazell’s discretion and willingness to attack the basket were signs of maturity.
What’s with all the threes? I know the Pitino system is heavy on trifectas, but a good team will make the Pirates pay when their bigs launch bricks from long range. SHU shot 10-of-28 from downtown, including 5-of-17 in the first half. Herb Pope was 1-of-4.
Thumbs up on the relocation of the student section (from behind the basket to the side court behind the visiting bench). It’s an improvement from both a visual and audio standpoint. There were still some students in the old spot so it wasn’t lifeless along the baseline.
“That’s something Jeremy has worked hard on, to get better quality shots. I thought he played terrific. We’ve go to do a better job of trying to find him early on the break so he doesn’t have to work so much in the half-court.”
“Jordan really watched the (Temple) film and studied it to see what his responsibilities are on this team. If he can facilitate offense like that ll year we’ll be really good.”
“Pat’s going to play a lot. He’s a much better offensive player than he’s showing right now. The bright lights are still hitting him a little bit. He passes the ball so well and he’s very unselfish. He’s got the ability to stretch defenses. Once he has the ability to do that more and has confidence in himself he’ll be playing more minutes.”
“Coming off Temple we got beat up on the boards and me and Jeremy didn’t play well. Just being able to get Herb and Jeff going first, it was great, because once we got the inside going everything opened up for us. I was driving, they were helping down and I was kicking out for threes.”
On the new student section: “It was definitely nice, especially having them behind the other team’s bench. I knew they didn’t like that. Just to see our student section filled up like that, it was great. Now we’ve got to work on getting the whole arena filled up like that.”
-How about the defense? The full-court press absolutely wrecked havoc in the first half, keeping Cornell confused, off-balance and turnover prone. The Pirates trapped the Big Red into committing 9 turnovers in the first half. More than that, they were able to constantly shave seconds off of the Red's shot clock after building a decent lead. The Pirates have been quick on their rotations, playing a tight 2-3 zone and have been sharp stepping into the passing lanes coming up with steals and setting up their fast break on the other end.
-Jordan Theodore is probably going to finish with a triple double today. With the Pirates only up 15 points at the half (could be much larger at this point), I see no reason for him to sit extended periods of minutes in the second half. He was on pace for a triple double just 12 minutes into the first half and at the break he's got: 10PTS/5REB/6AST/2STL. He's 2-of-5 from the floor, but 6-of-6 from the stripe. Most importantly, his decision making has been superb, only committing one turnover in the first half.
-After an abysmal Friday night, Jeff Robinson has returned to form. He even drilled a 3PT attempt from the corner. I'm a little worried with the make a self-instilled 3PT green-light will be activated for Jeff Robinson. Regardless of the long-distane shooting, he's been one of the most dominant players on the court today. At the break he's got 11PTS/6REB.
-Herb Pope has had a quiet first half, but of course he remembered to take the first of many, "big men bad 3PT attempts" for the Pirates, launching a brick with about 28 seconds remaining on the shot clock early in the half.
-The Pirates are an impressive 17-of-18 from the stripe. It's actually pretty unbelievable and quite clear how much Willard has been stressing the importance of making your throws.
...More to come following the conclusion of the game.
-Congratulations to Kevin Willard on his first victory as head coach of the Seton Hall Pirates. Job well done, sir.
-Now that's the basketball Seton Hall fans were expecting to see on Friday. Better late than never.
-It all starts with the defense and the Pirates looked like they got plenty of sleep last night, putting forth a much sharper performance than what we saw in Philadelphia on Friday. From the halftime notes:
-How about the defense? The full-court press absolutely wrecked havoc in the first half, keeping Cornell confused, off-balance and turnover prone. The Pirates trapped the Big Red into committing 9 turnovers in the first half. More than that, they were able to constantly shave seconds off of the Red's shot clock after building a decent lead. The Pirates have been quick in their rotations when pressing, effective with their 2-3 zone and they've been sharply stepping into passing lanes coming up with steals and setting up their fast break on the other end.
Willard's defense was equally impressive in the second half, even without creating as many turnovers, as there wasn't a need to with Cornell trailing big. Coming out of the half, the Pirates got burned early as the Red beat the full court press for an easy transition bucket. Nursing the big lead, Willard began to let up on the press, and started falling back into a zone more often in order to protect getting beat on fast breaks. The strategy payed off as Cornell was never able to threaten the Pirates lead while running their half court offense.
-The freshmen Fuquan Edwin once again made the start at SF and Eniel Polynice didn't check into the game until late in the first half, in fact, he was fourth off the bench. Rather interesting for a player that was generally believed to be our starting SF all off-season leading up to the start of the season. Edwin couldn't find the bucket today finishing 0-for-4 from the floor, but did contribute with 4REB.
-JT, was the most impressive player on the floor in the first half as he quickly tallied 10PTS/5REB/6AST/2STL/TO and looked like he was easily on his way to a triple-double. That all changed in the 2nd half as his line over the final 20 minutes looked like: 2REB/AST/STL/4TO. Keon Lawrence got an extended look at PG and with the big lead, JT may have checked out early in this one. It's a little unsettling to see him go from the best player on a floor making superb decisions, to a PG that looked anything but a floor general in the second half. Still, his first half was too dominant to leave a bad taste in my mouth after today's performance, it's just something to keep an eye on. There's no doubt in my mind that going forward, staying focused for the entire game will not be a problem with this kid.
-Keon Lawrence put forth a respectable effort in 21 minutes, finishing with 7PTS/3REB/3AST/TO on 2-of-5 shooting. Seeing Keon drill a 3PT attempt was a very late, but welcome sight, something that I hope will help get his confidence going a little.
-If you read this site last year under the name Gonzo Ball, you'll remember that we doled out, "Gonzo Balls" for the most impressive Pirate(s) each night. Although we ditched the domain name, we're going to stick out that tradition and today, we're splitting a GB down the middle for both Jeff Robinson and Jeremy Hazell.
-Jeff Robinson, putting it nicely, was atrocious on Friday night. This afternoon? A complete 180, as JRob was dominant. He even began to build his case in making me eat crow this season, by hitting BOTH of his 3PT attempts. In classic, "NO! NO! NO! YES!" moments, he hit bottoms on both attempts this afternoon. Whether that's a good sign for the team going forward, is conversation for another day, right now, I've got to give Jeff props. Outside of Robinson doing his best Reggie Miller, he was a beast in all facets today. JROB finished with the Pirates first double-double of the season with 16PTS/10REB on 5-of-8 shooting and 4-4 from the charity stripe. I believe Jeff even made all of the layups he attempted. Ok, he missed one, but convincingly grabbed his own rebound, attempted the put-back, drew a foul and went to the line to make both his throws.
-Jeremy Hazell was equally as impressive this afternoon, continuing to subtract from the notion that he's only a great 3PT chucker. Hazell showed discipline in his shot selection and penetrated to the tin with authority, finishing a couple impressive dunks over Cornell defenders. He finished his day after playing 28 minutes and recording 28PTS on 8-of-11 shooting and 4-of-6 from 3PT distance. Hazell also converted all 8 of his free throws. If Jeremy can put forth a controlled effort similar to today's consistently throughout the season, the Pirates are going to be extremely difficult to beat.
-Pope took a little while to get going as he was quiet with 4PTs in the first half, but was able to finish with 13PTS/6REB/2STL/BLK in a limited 23 minutes. After seeing Pope knock down two pretty hooks in the first half, it further serves the argument that he has no business shooting 3PT attempts. Like Robinson, he's too talented in every other aspect of the game. Today, Pope took FOUR too many. He did make one, but Herb shooting 25% from 3PT serves no benefit for this team. He's too talented close to the basket to keep putting up these long distance attempts.
And still, Willard seems to be fine with it. Pope and JRob fired at will under Bobby and it looks that Willard has given his big men the green light to shoot as much as they want from behind the arc. It's mind-boggling, but it looks like it's going to continue throughout the season, as it did last year. At least Ferrakohn Hall didn't attempt one today, I guess controlling one of the three bigs is a start.
-Jamel Jackson provided a nice little spark off the bench converting on 2-of-5 of his 3PT attempts. Kid can really shoot it and through two games this season has already shown more consistency than we saw at any point last season. Keep it up JJAX.
-Patrik Auda played 17 minutes and contributed 5REB/2AST/3BLK despite failing to hit a FG. He looked overly amped up early in the game and was hacking his men often, picking up 3PF along the way. Still, he looked capable of filling in at center against a smaller opponent when both Pope and Hall are out of the game.
-Eniel Polynice, who played some 3rd string PG in mop-up time was once again unimpressive finishing with just 3PTS on 1-of-6 shooting, although he did pull down 4 boards.
-Anali Okoloji saw his first 4 minutes of his Pirates career and was unproductive, missing one shot and committing one foul. Darnell Gatling entered the game with Okoloji with 3 and change left to play and was fouled, before making both of his FTs to a well deserved applause from The Rock.
-Aaron Osgood led the Big Red with 19PTS on 5-of-7 shooting, however the kid looked like Dwight Howard on the stripe, bricking 8 of his 16 free throw attempts.
The Pirates only have a few days left in frigid South Orange, NJ before departing for the Virgin Islands where they will face Alabama, next Friday.
It seems that a Cornell team playing without its best player, Chris Wroblewski, was the perfect antidote to cure the Pirates' offensive woes from Friday night. Doing the game for WSOU, here are my Five Thoughts:
- Less = More for Hazell
Hazell had perhaps the best game of his career today, needing only 11 shots and 8 free throws to score a game-high 28 points. He was as efficient as he's ever been, and that translated well into a Pirates win. Not only did he remind fans why he's preseason first team all Big East and a candidate for the Wooden Award, he showed resolve on defense that he hasn't shown in his career.
- Robinson's bounce-back
Well, Jeff Robinson made us all forget about Friday night. Completely. Robinson was doing everything today- knocking down jump shots (including 2 threes), crashing the glass (10 rebounds), and getting to the foul line (4-4 on free throws). He was atrocious on Friday, but fantastic today. Coming into the Paradise Jam next weekend, it will be interesting to see how Robinson responds to better big men. Will he have confidence coming off a good game? Or will he fold when presented with a challenge on the block?
- Theodore's playmaking
Jordan Theodore finished with a pretty quiet 10PTS/7REB/7AST. He was alert and looked to make plays for his very capable teammates today. Watching the video during pregame, Theodore was shown saying that he is ready for the challenge of leading the team on the floor, and he looked the part today. He did commit a couple of offensive fouls, one on a push off and another on a charge, that led to two of his 5 turnovers (which is too high for a point guard), but he'll correct the mistakes just like he did in between games yesterday.
- Taking advantage
The Pirates and Big Red committed the same amount of turnovers (15), after the Red settled down after tallying nine in the first half. But the Pirates took full advantage of the Cornell turnovers, scoring 25 points off those 15 giveaways. It sort of took the sting off of the fact that the Pirates gave up 26 points in the paint NOT counting the 16 times that Cornell center Aaron Osgood went to the line. Osgood only made 8 of those 16, but it could have been worse.
- New student section
I give credit to the students for showing up, all wearing blue, and cheering loud even as the margin grew. It is something that I think will help the Pirates this season, as I heard through word of mouth that they were in the ears of the Cornell players all game long. I get the logic behind it, but as Big East play nears, I think that something will slip and some students are going to get thrown out for inappropriate comments.
Now the Pirates travel to the Paradise Jam to face Alabama, a great test of this team's fiber. The Pirates have traditionally struggled in tournaments like these, so if they come out of it 2-1 or 3-0, you have to feel good about it.
NEWARK -- We've all memorized the formula: A new coach means a new scheme and some growing pains as players adjust and the new leader gets settled in. Seton Hall's 92-68 dismantling of Cornell on Sunday offered a reminder that every program handles a coaching change differently, and that a lot of that has to do with plain and simple on-court talent. Cornell and Seton Hall, two teams welcoming new head coaches this season, seem headed in different directions, at least in the near future.
Seton Hall, in its second game under ex-Iona coach Kevin Willard, showed how solid depth and stellar athleticism can shrink the learning curve of a new coach. Just two days removed from shooting less than 30 percent and losing on the road against an outstanding Temple team, the Pirates controlled matters from the start on Sunday.
After the Big Red pulled within one with 17:31 to play in the first half, the Hall went on a 21-3 run over the next six minutes. During that time, Cornell committed a turnover on five of its 13 possessions. That breakneck 87-possessions-per-40-minutes pace didn't continue for the entire game. If it had, Bill Courtney's team would have lost by more than 24 points. The Pirates took advantage of the fact that the Big Red was missing Chris Wroblewski, their lead guard, by applying a stifling zone press. Quick Seton Hall guards Jordan Theodore (three steals) and Keon Lawrence ran amok in the Cornell backcourt, generating a transition-heavy style that resulted in 18 first-half Seton Hall free throw attempts.
When the Big Red slowed the pace down a bit (the game ended up a 78-possession affair), things got a little less ugly. But Cornell was never able to climb back into things, even with Seton Hall forward Herb Pope bound to the bench with two first-half fouls. Picking up the slack in the absence of Pope were Hazell, Theodore and forward Jeff Robinson.
March 15, 2010
Jeremy Hazell led Seton Hall to its first win of the Kevin Willard era yesterday, scoring 28 points in a 92-68 dismantling of Cornell.
Hazell and the Pirates displayed all the qualities -- defensive intensity, unselfish offense and solid shooting -- that have some Big East observers listing them as a sleeper team this year.
The Pirates, coming off a 62-56 season-opening loss on the road to No. 22 Temple, roared to a 39-15 lead with 6:30 left in the first half and never let Cornell (1-1) mount a serious run before 6,583 fans at Newark's Prudential Center."I'm happy that we shot 50 percent in the second half, and 43 percent [for the game]," Willard said. "I look at field-goal defense, that's two games in a row we've done a pretty good job pressing, getting after it and also playing decent half-court defense."