Pirates defeat Rutgers 69-64
On a late 8-3 run the Pirates pulled away from Rutgers and defeated the Scarlet Knights 69-64 at the RAC on Saturday.
“We came out with fire,” senior Jeremy Hazell said. “We wanted to win and we came out tough and played well.”
Hazell lead all Pirates with 19 points, while also scoring his 2000 point as a Pirate on a layup late in the second half. Hazell is the fourth player in school history to reach the mark.
“It’s a great honor,” Hazell said about scoring 2000 points. “Being in the same wave with Terry Dehere and Nick Workman, they are both legends.”
Theodore scored 18 points for the Hall, on 7-9 shooting from the field and 3-5 for three. Theodore did not start the game because of not practicing until Thursday with a possible concussion after the Connecticut game.
“Terrific,” head coach Kevin Willard said about Theodore’s performance. “He played under control and did everything we needed him to do.”
Rutgers were led by senior Jonathan Mitchell with 24 points on 10-15 shooting, along with freshman Gilvydas Biruta with 18 points.
Early in the first half the Pirates fell behind 11-5 after senior James Beatty made a three with 15:24 left in the half. From then the Hall went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead at 13-11 with freshman Patrick Auda tipping in a rebound.
The Pirates extended their lead again with a 7-2 run which gave them their biggest lead of the half at eight, 31-23 with just over two minutes remaining.
On their last possession of the first half Theodore made a three making the score 34-27.
Starting the second half Rutgers went on an 8-0 run to take a one point lead, 35-34, while the Hall went scoreless in their first five possessions of the half.
Senior Herb Pope got the Pirates on the board for the first time in the half 3:30 minutes into the half. The bucket started the Pirates on a 12-2 run making the score 46-37 with just over 11 minutes remaining.
Up 49-40, both teams went 2:30 minutes scoreless until freshman Austin Carroll hit a long 3 for Rutgers followed by a turnover leading to a three point play for the Scarlet Knights, pulling them within three, 49-46.
Rutgers would pull within a point at 52-51, on a layup by Mitchell. After both teams traded a basket, when senior Jeff Robinson made a three pointer that Hazell followed up with a layup on the fast break going up 59-53.
With 2:25 remaining, Pope got called for an excessive foul on Biruta leading to Rutgers making both free throws making the score 59-55, but not converting after getting the ball back.
With the Pirates leading 59-55, Hazell got fouled while taking a three and would convert all three free throws. On a fast break opportunity Pope made a bad pass which lead to Mitchell making a three making the score 62-58 with 1:30 left.
Theodore would make a layup and along with free throws for Pope and Robinson the Hall iced the game.
“I had only lost to Rutgers once in my lifetime,” junior Jordan Theodore said. “I couldn’t do it again.”
Mitchell would make two three pointers in the final 10 seconds but would not e enough to bring the Scarlet Knights back into the game.
“It was good to see,” Willard said about closing out Rutgers. “We have struggled when teams make runs on us.”
The Pirates return home to the Prudential Center on Tuesday to play the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org