In Kevin Willard’s first game as head coach of the Pirates, the Hall fell to the No. 22 ranked Temple 62-56.
The Hall lost the lead with 7:11 left to go in the first half, after a three pointer from junior Juan Fernandez tied the game at 20-20, and the Pirates would not regain the lead. The Hall lost the lead during the Owls 17-0 run, in which the Pirates were held scoreless for 7:12.
“We got ourselves in trouble by taking bad shots,” Willard said. “[The run] was caused more by bad offense than bad defense. “
The Pirates started the game scoring the first four points of the game, and took their biggest lead of the game 18-13, with 10:55 to go in the first half after a free throw from sophomore Ferrakohn Hall.
Senior Eniel Polynice made a pair of free throws with 1:05 remaining in the half to break the scoreless streak to make the score at 34-22. The Hall would go into the half trialing 34-24.
“We started to make poor decisions out there,” senior Jeff Robinson said. “Guys were starting to get tired out there.”
The second half started with the Pirates going on a small 5-2 run after a three pointer from senior Herb Pope.
After the basket the Hall, went on another scoreless streak for 4:49, with the Owls stretching their lead to 12 at 41-29.
Both teams would trade basket for the next few minutes when sophomore Rahlir Jefferson gave the Owls their biggest lead of the game at 16, 60-44, with 4:16 left in the game.
The Pirates started to make a run of their own with Robinson making a lay-up cutting the lead down to 14.
Back to back three pointers from senior Jeremy Hazell and senior Jamel Jackson made the lead nine points. After a Temple turnover Hazell made the Hall’s third straight three pointer making the score 60-54.
In a fouling situation, Fernandez missed the front end of a one and one with 29 seconds left, and the Pirates came down court and Robinson made a driving lay-up cutting the lead to 60-56.
Instead of fouling with 20 seconds left the Pirates tried drawing the 10 second violation, but the Owls were able to break the press and ran out most of the clock.
The Pirates offense was limited to 30% shooting from the field with only one player scoring double figures. Hazell led the Hall with 17 points despite shooting 6-15.
“My shot wasn’t falling tonight,” Hazell said. “We played hard but we did some things bad.”
Part of the offense’s struggles was in part of the team having 12 turnovers while only recording 11 assists.
“Even though we didn’t play well offensively, I thought we played well defensively,” Willard said.
However, the defense for the Hall forced 18 Temple turnovers, but was only able to score 16 points off of those turnovers.
In the game, the Pirates played 10 men and with 14 minutes remaing in the first half had all of their starters out of the game.
“I’m still trying to get used to these guys, and find combinations that complement each other,” Willard said.
The game against Temple was the Pirates first home opener on the road since 2001 and first season opener against a ranked team since 1998.
The Pirates next play at home against Cornell on Sunday at the Prudential Center.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org