Pirates win season opener in overtime
Needing a late comeback and overtime, the Pirates defeated the St. Francis Terriers 75-71 at home in the season opener.
“It’s always good to get a win,” senior Herb Pope said. “A ugly win is still a win.”
Senior Jordan Theodore made a driving layup with 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock to send the game into overtime tied at 62-62. The Hall had the opportunity to tie the game with St. Francis missing a free throw with 4.9 seconds left and head coach Kevin Willard took the Pirates final timeout.
“I calmed down and didn’t let myself get rattled,” Theodore said. “I just kept going and going and knew how I was going to have to make that play.”
In the extra period, Theodore got the scoring started with a driving to the basket making the shot while being fouled, making the free throw to convert the three point play.
With the Terriers within one, freshman Haralds Karlis dunked the ball on a fast break and then on the next Pirates possession drew a foul shooting a three pointer, making two of three giving the Hall a 69-64 lead.
Junior Travis Nichols would make another basket in the paint putting St. Francis down 69-66. Nichols, following two free throws from Theodore, made a three point basket in the corner, to once again put the Terriers down two.
Theodore iced the game with six concessive free throws made to end the game.
“I think (Theodore) grew up a lot,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “At the end of the game he said he wanted the ball, so we gave him the ball.”
Theodore led all scorers with 15 points on 8-23 shooting.
“It’s one of the reasons why I love him,” Willard said. “He wants to be the guy. He just has to learn how to be that guy, and I think tonight he started realizing that.”
Pope added 21 points to go along with 14 rebounds, while sophomore Fuquan Edwin added 10 points. As a team the Hall shot 41 percent, despite shooting 28 percent in the first half, and only recorded seven assist to 14 turnovers.
“We just have to pass the ball better,” Theodore said. “It was just the first game, was a lot of nerves.”
Nichols led the Terriers with 15 points on 10-16 shooting while also pulling down 14 rebounds.
In the first half the Pirates fell behind 9-4 early in the half before going on a 12-0 run to take a 16-9 lead. However, following the Hall’s run the Terriers went on a 15-2 run of their own to retake the lead at 26-18.
From that point on St. Francis would hold onto the lead until the game went into overtime.
For most of the second half the Pirates would trail by 10 or more points with the Terriers holding a 54-42 lead with 10:33 remaining. With 5:55 the Hall trailed 59-50 when the Pirates went on a 12-3 three run to end regulation.
Pope started the run with back to back layups which was then followed by freshman Aaron Cosby making one to make the score 59-56.
Senior Stefan Perunicic stopped the 6-0 run by the Pirates with a three point basket with 3:02 remaining. Those were the last point in regulation for St. Francis.
Down four with 1:42 the Hall came up with four consecutive stops at the end of regulation giving them the ability to tie the game on Theodore’s layup.
“We are going to be a much better team once we get constant stops,” Pope said. “We have to start to build off of stops.”
The Pirates next play on Thursday at 5:00p.m. against VCU in the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at Stephen.email@example.com