Pirates fail to climb mountain
The men’s basketball team was dropped in Morgantown Wednesday night, 56-44, losing to No. 25 West Virginia for the seventh straight time, dating back to February 2006.
The Pirates fall to 4-7 in conference play, with an overall record of 10-13, while the Mountaineers advance to 6-3 in Big East play, with an overall record of 15-6.
The Hall outscored West Virginia in the second half, 27-22, but it was not enough to overcome the first half offensive struggles.
Just two minutes into the game, the Mountaineers went on a 10-2 run that put them up 17-7 with nearly 12 minutes to play in the first half. They carried a 33-17 lead into half time.
When head coach Kevin Willard noted after the Providence win that West Virginia is “playing at a very high level defensively,” he most likely did not expect this.
The Mountaineers’ defense flexed its muscles, holding the Pirates to a season-low in points, warranting the conference-wide fear that has accumulated over the season.
West Virginia’s opponents have been held to an average of 63.8 points per game in 21 games this season.
Junior forward Kevin Jones led the way for the Mountaineers with 13 points and 12 rebounds, who were again without their leading scorer, senior guard Casey Mitchell.
Mitchell, who averages 16.6 points per game, was suspended indefinitely in October for violating team rules.
Seton Hall’s shooting woes continued, posting a 10.5 percent clip from behind the arc and a 29.5 percent from the field. The Pirates are 5-37 in their past two games from three-point land.
The Hall also recorded only five assist in the loss, compared to West Virginia’s 16.
Senior forward Jeff Robinson tallied nine points, the game-high for the Pirates, yet only shot 4-14 from the field and 0-6 from three. He also recorded six rebounds.
Junior forward Herb Pope scored eight points and posted a game-high seven rebounds for the Hall, five of which came on the offensive glass.
The Mountaineers contained senior guard Jeremy Hazell similarly to last year’s contest between Seton Hall and West Virginia.
He scored just five points Wednesday night and nine points last season in the WVU Coliseum. He was held to 1-8 shooting from the field and 0-6 from behind the arc, and is 0-13 in his last two games from three.
“I think he’s [Hazell] about 80 percent,” Willard said after the Providence win. “Mentally, he’s starting to get back to where he was earlier. He went through a lot in a two and a half month stretch.”
The Pirates return to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. to take on the No. 6 UConn Huskies in the Prudential Center.
Matt Bryant can be reached at email@example.com.