Pirates use strong second half to defeat Navy
Seton Hall used a balanced attack to pummel Navy, 94-56, on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center and get back on track after their first loss of the season to Temple on Saturday.
Sophomore Jordon Theodore scored 18 points and added six assists and six rebounds on 6-10 shooting to lead the Pirates’ (9-1) offense.
Seton Hall head Coach Bobby Gonzalez said it was important just to get a bounce back victory after the Temple loss and break out of the offensive slump.
“We were 5-28 for the last game and a half,” Gonzalez said, “which is just absurd for us. Finally in the second half we were able to break out.”
Junior Jeremy Hazell got back on track after a mini-slump with 17 points and six rebounds on 6-12 shooting.
Hazell shot only 4-17 in the loss to Temple and started 2-5 in the first half before righting the ship in the second half.
He said that he did have a bad game against Temple but that he always feels like he can shoot out of it.
“I can go 0-5 one night but I’ll always think the next one is going in,” Hazell said. “I always think I’m going to shoot out of a slump, but that day it didn’t happen. I got back in this game and hit a couple of shots so that boosted my confidence going into West Virginia.”
Junior Herb Pope struggled with foul trouble through the second half of the game to finish with 10 points and six rebounds, only the third game this season that he failed to record a double double.
Pope said it speaks to the depth of the team that they can keep things going when he gets into foul trouble.
“Hall came in and had one of his best games of his career so far, and Jeff [Robinson] came in and was spectacular,” Pope said. “It feels like we can sub-in a whole other unit at any given time.”
Gonzalez said the early substitutions brought energy to the offense that was struggling to start the game.
“Those games came in and it was like someone let them out of a cage,” Gonzalez said.
Senior Eugene Harvey failed to score, but recorded seven assists. He remained one point away from becoming the 19th Pirate to reach the 1400 career point mark.
Senior John Garcia scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds while playing more minutes than recent games.
Gonzalez said Garcia looked healthier on the court on Tuesday than he had in awhile. Garcia said he felt better on the court.
“I felt great,” Garcia said. “I think coach has been doing a great job the last two weeks of resting me, let me rehab my knee after I got hurt in the Umass game, but I feel great now and just in time for West Virginia.”
Junior Jamel Jackson responded to only playing nine minutes in the game against Temple by scoring 11 points on Tuesday in 20 minutes of play.
Freshman Ferrakohn Hall recorded a season high nine points.
Both transfer students, senior Keon Lawrence and Sophomore Jeff Robinson, continued to be integrated into the rotation. Robinson had nine points and four rebounds while Lawrence only five points on 0-4 shooting.
Senior Chris Harris paced Navy (4-8) with 12 points, but shot only 3-17 in 38 minutes of play.
Seton Hall finished their non-conference play with the Temple game as their only blemish. Gonzalez said he thought his team played great during the non-conference schedule.
“Being 9-1, I would have liked to have been 10-0,” Gonzalez said, “but you see the Cornell victory was a pretty good victory for us and I liked the fashion that we beat everyone in. I don’t care what anyone says about our schedule, we played good basketball.”
The Pirates begin a brutal opening stretch to Big East play when they host West Virginia at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Prudential Center. Gonzalez said there is no exact way to be ready for the tough Big East schedule.
“It’s like you get thrown into a fistfight,” Gonzalez said. “I personally think West Virginia is the best team in the conference. We’re at home, so that’s a good thing, but they’ve maybe played in a bit more tough environments than we have. You don’t know if you’re ready until you go out and play, but I’ll tell you no matter if we win or lose, I don’t think it has anything to do with the 10 games we played.”
Josh Jongsma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.