Men’s basketball faces VCU in first round of tournament

Following a nightmare season opener, where the Seton Hall Pirates were 4.9 seconds from losing to St. Francis (N.Y) before winning in overtime, the Hall heads to Charleston, S.C. for the 2011 DirecTV Charleston Classic.

In the Pirates’ game against St. Francis, the team shot 41.3 percent from the floor, including 7.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Seton Hall hit the crucial shot when it needed to however, when senior Jordan Theodore found the bottom of the net on a layup with less than two seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, Theodore scored on a traditional three point play to give the Hall the lead it would not relinquish.

Theodore finished the game with 25 points, while fellow senior Herb Pope had 21 points.

“We need Jordan to be a 17-18 point scorer and Herb to be a 16-17 point scorer, which they should be able to do,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “Going in, we knew we are going to have to put it on them.”

In Charleston, the Pirates will face the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in their opening round game, then will play either Georgia Tech or St. Joseph’s in the second round, pending the outcome of both games.

VCU goes into the matchup coming off a 63-57 opening night win over Saint Francis (Pa) on Nov. 11.

The Rams had a 16-point lead twice in the game, but allowed the Red Flash to creep back into it towards the end.

Junior guard Troy Daniels sealed the victory when he hit a three-pointer with under 30 seconds remaining in the game.

Last season, the Rams made a magical run to the Final Four as a 11 seed before losing to Butler in the NCAA semi-finals.

They return two starters from last year, including Daniels, who finished with 22 points in their opening win.

Also returning is senior Bradford Burgess. Burgess struggled in the Rams opener against St. Francis (PA), shooting 0-12 from the field and scoring two points. Last season Burgess averaged 14.3 points per game.

This is the first ever game between the Pirates and Rams, however Seton Hall is 28-8 all-time against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Pirates will look to get back to their traditional style of basketball, instead of the two-headed attack they showed against the Terriers, where Pope and Theodore accounted for 39 of the team’s 63 shots.

“We just have to go out there and play Seton Hall basketball,” Theodore said. “Play the way coach Willard has told us, which is to shoot the three, defend, play together and just make the extra pass.”

Georgia Tech, the Pirates’ potential second round opponent, enters the tournament 2-0 after beating Delaware State 70-52. Redshirt sophomore Daniel Miller tallied his first career double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Georgia Tech will play the first two games of the tournament without junior guard Glen Rice Jr., according to ESPN.

Rice Jr. was reportedly suspended by first-year head coach Brian Gregory for violating team rules. He averaged 12 points per game for the Yellow Jackets last season.

Saint Joseph’s enters the tournament coming off a 72-61 opening game win over Western Kentucky.

The Hawks had five players in double figures, including 19 points from sophomore guard Langston Galloway.

Tip-off for the Pirates’ first-round game against VCU will be 5:00 p.m.

Sports Editor Stephen Valenti contributed to this story. He can be reached at stephen.valenti@student.shu.edu.

Tim LeCras can be reached at timothy.lecras@student.shu.edu. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimLeCras

Author: Staff Writer

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