Pirates upset No. 9 Pitt
Faced with another ranked opponent in their early Big East conference schedule, the Pirates upset the No. 9 ranked Pittsburgh Panthers, 64-61, on Sunday at the Prudential Center.
This is the first defeat of a top 10 opponent that the Pirates have had in Bobby Gonzalez’s tenure as head coach. Their last victory over a top 10 team came in 2006, Louis Orr’s last season as head coach, when the Hall defeated Jamie Dixon’s Panthers in Pittsburgh, 65-61.
“It’s a great win for me personally, a great win for our program and a great win for our team,” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully it gets a little national attention, even though it’s early in the year. There was this perception out there of, ‘What’s wrong with Seton Hall?’ They have good talent and good expectations, but their record is not that good.”
Sophomore Herb Pope, playing against the team that he made a verbal commitment to in 2006, led the Pirates with 19 points and nine rebounds.
“I pretty much tried to play inside my team,” Pope said. “They told me before the game that they were going to try and feed me the ball, but I didn’t want them to force it to me. With Jeremy Hazell on the bench we all had to step up.”
Junior Jeff Robinson scored 15 points in the victory for the Hall.
Junior Jeremy Hazell found himself on the bench for the majority of the game due to foul trouble.
With 12:56 to play in the first half and already having one foul, Hazell got called for a reach-in foul by official Karl Hess. Hazell immedietly argued the call and within seconds, Hess called him for a technical foul, giving him three.
Gonzalez immedietly put Hazell on the bench for the remained of the first half.
Then the first play in the second half, Hazell was called for trip by official Ed Corbett, his fourth. Gonzalez argued the call with Corbett, who was walking away, but was called for a technical foul by Hess.
Hazell would return to the game with about nine minutes remaining and finished the game with nine points.
“For us to win with Jeremy on the bench with nine points, it shows we are becoming a good team,” head coach Bobby Gonzalez said. “We’re also a team that can win different ways. It was the 80s the other night versus Louisville and today it was the 60s. That’s a good sign that you are becoming a good team.”
Despite Hazell only playing 16 minutes, the Pirates offense was still too much for the Panthers.
The Hall owned the paint, outscoring Pitt 38-22. The Pirates also shot 44.6 percent from the floor.
“We had too many defensive breakdown,” Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon said, “and we see it but we’re not fixing it well.”
Pittsburgh struggled offensively for much of the game. They shot just 35.3 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Panther offense turned the ball over 20 times, which resulted in 26 points for the Pirates. Senior guard Eugene Harvey was on the receiving end of six of those turnovers, he had six steals in the game.
“I think they are a better team but I don’t think they’re record proves it,” Dixon said. “They had tough early conference games.”
This was the first of two meetings that Seton Hall and Pittsburgh will have this season. The Hall will head to Pittsburgh on Feb. 6.
The Pirates return to action on Thursday night as the Pirates head to Miami to face the USF Bulldogs.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.