Seton Hall rallies, but falls to No. 24 Cincinnati 65-59
Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 15:02
The men’s basketball team dropped another game Saturday afternoon to the No. 24 ranked Cincinnati Bearcats 65-59, marking their third straight loss and seven of their last eight.
With a change of pace from the last seven games the Pirates came out of the gates looking strong and cohesive. Shuffling the lead back and forth with the Bearcats for much of the first half, even holding lead for a solid portion, the half ended with the Pirates down by just five 33-28.
Coming out in the second half the Pirates expressed their trademark gameplay that has stuck with them over the last eight games, and head coach Kevin Willard discussed how that has been affecting the team.
“We talked about it a lot,” Willard said. “About how the last three minutes of the first half have doomed us and the first four minutes of the second half have doomed us. It’s really our biggest issue.”
Freshman center Kevin Johnson, who logged his second start of the season Saturday, had some words that echoed what Willard preached about the end of the first and start of the second halves.
“We just gotta be ready to come in after that break.” Johnson said. “Just be ready to play.”
The Bearcats came out in the second half and jumped to a fast 15-0 run by the 15:50 mark. Nearly mirroring what Willard explained as the Pirates biggest problem in coming out flat in the second half.
Cincinnati’s junior guard Sean Kilpatrick posted a game high 21 points along with seven rebounds to lead the Bearcats most of the way in beating the Pirates. Shooting 8-19 from the field and connecting on five shots from behind the arc, Kilpatrick proved his Big East worth yet again.
Senior guard Cashmere Wright also inflicted damage upon the Pirates defense totaling 17 points in the game from 4-13, but not missing a shot from the foul line connecting on all of his seven shots.
Junior forwards Fuquan Edwin and Brandon Mobley led the way for the Pirates with 16 points apiece, getting their team within four with just over three minutes left in the game. Edwin expressed his feelings on the Pirates recent struggles.
“We just have to pull through.” Edwin said. “We just have to dig deep and get through. Our season isn’t over yet. We just gotta get through and get some wins.”
Junior forward Brian Oliver voiced a rather different opinion about the Pirates problems, and seemed to be aware of what the outside view of the team may be.
“I know what everyone’s saying, so I’m not gonna say too much.” Oliver said. “I mean, I know who everyone is pointing the fingers at. I have faith in my team.”
Oliver, although he seemed to be aware of the opinions of others, offered his explanation to the mental state of the team and how the team’s struggles at this point could be due to a lack of mental toughness.
“I personally think it’s mental.” Oliver said. “I think there are guys, you know I don’t really want to call anyone out but, I think mental wise and being mentally tough, I don’t think we’re that.”
On an afternoon when the Pirates were celebrating their 1992-93 Big East winning men’s team, the current squad of players could not harness the magic of that special year. And after the looks of today’s game, the Pirates may be farther away from that magic than fans would like to hope.
The Pirates will take on the Pittsburgh Panthers 9 p.m. Monday Feb. 4 at Pittsburgh.
Dennis Chambers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.