In front of a sold out student section, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team jumped out to an 11 point lead in the first eight minutes of the game and never looked back, eventually winning 81-59 in the 2011 installment of the Big East/SEC Challenge.
“We took what we practiced and put it on the court,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We really practiced and tried to get up and down and play at a higher pace. I was really happy that we were able to establish that early.”
Led by senior Herb Pope, the Pirates scored a season high 38 points in the opening half on 44.1 percent shooting, including six three pointers.
Seton Hall scored the first five points of the game beginning with an explosive slam dunk from Pope. Freshman Aaron Cosby quickly followed up with a three pointer, his first of four made deep balls.
“This week in practice coach told me just relax and get comfortable out there,” Cosby said.
Auburn made a quick comeback, pulling within two points, 9-7, the Hall went on a 10-0 run that saw four different Pirates score a bucket.
Cosby started the streak, hitting a three pointer with 14:57 to play in the half. His bucket was quickly followed three layups from sophomore Fuquan Edwin and freshman Haralds Karlis.
Pope added 10 additional points in the half to bring his first period total to 12. Cosby and Edwin both had 10 in the half.
In the second half, the Pirates stayed hot.
Auda added eight points in the half, including a deep ball from the right corner to open the half, and completed an original three point play two minutes later.
Pope had an even better second half, adding 11 points and 8 rebounds to finish with 23 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year.
Senior point guard Jordan Theodore had just three points in the game, all from the free throw line, but his 10 assists all but made up for his lack of scoring.
The Pirates return to the floor on Tuesday when they host NJIT. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.