Seton Hall drops fourth straight Big East game
The Seton Hall men’s basketball team continued its lackluster shooting on Saturday night, falling to the No 25 Louisville Cardinals, 60-51, and extending the Pirate losing streak to four games.
Louisville (17-5, 5-4) leapt out to a 15-4 lead early in the first half and put the Pirates in the rearview mirror, never losing hold of the lead.
For the first time all season head coach Kevin Willard changed his starting lineup, giving freshman forward Brandon Mobley his first start over struggling sophomore Patrik Auda, however Seton Hall (15-6, 4-5) could not keep up with the Cardinals, letting them shoot 48 percent from the field in the first half, while the Pirates shot an abysmal 28 percent.
Sophomore guard Russ Smith led the way for the Cardinals with 14 points, also adding three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore center Gorgui Dieng was also a major factor for Louisville, controlling the paint on both ends of the floor. Dieng had 11 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocked shots.
“We’re thinking about everything too much, and I think that has hurt us,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We’re missing shots, missing layups, but still battling back. There’s some hesitation. That’s how the last four games have gone for us.”
According to Willard, the team is playing much differently than they were just a month ago.
“Guys are doing things that they weren’t doing at the beginning of the year to get us out of this slump,” Willard said. “Everything on the offensive end, I think, is a step too slow.”
In the second half, the Pirates played stingy defense, only allowing Louisville to score nine points in the first 13 minutes. Seton Hall was unable to take advantage, however, shooting just 27 percent from the floor in the half.
Freshman Haralds Karlis sparked a 10-4 Pirate run five minutes into the second half after hitting a 3-pointer off a screen by freshman Brandon Mobley. After a blocked shot on the other end by senior Herb Pope on Louisville’s Chris Smith, sophomore Fuquan Edwin nailed a corner 3-pointer to cut the lead to nine points.
The Pirates managed to pull within five points with three minutes to go after a 12-2 run capped off by an Edwin layup off a turnover, however Louisville was able to stave off a Pirate comeback.
Poor free throw shooting continued to be a motif for the Pirates, as they finished the game shooting 59.3 percent from the line while Louisville shot 66.7 percent. Herb Pope, who shot 4-of-8 from the line in the game, missed three of his final four free throws down the final stretch.
Pope finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and two steals on the night, shooting 4-of-12 from the field. Jordan Theodore led all scorers with 18 points, however only recorded three assists while turning the ball over four times.
Theodore, who shot 6-of-20 from the field, thinks the team’s struggles in the first half of games have put them in poor position to win despite their excellent defensive play.
“Our defense hasn’t been the problem,” Theodore said. “We need to really pick things back up on the offensive end, especially in the first half. Free throws really killed us down the stretch.”
As a group, the Pirates’ top three scorers, Pope, Theodore, and Edwin, shot 31 percent, going 13-of-42 from the floor. Seton Hall shot 27.6 percent from the floor, the team’s second straight game shooting under 30 percent from the field.
Seton Hall forced Louisville to turn the ball over 24 times, but the Pirates were only able to record 23 points off those turnovers.
The Pirates return to action on Tuesday night when they head to Milwaukee, Wis. for a matchup with the No.18 Marquette Golden Eagles. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.