No longer on the bubble
With a shot before the buzzer just falling out of the basket, in overtime, the Pirates’ fell to the Marquette Golden Eagles, Sunday February 28, by a score of 84-83.
With the loss, the Hall stands in tenth place in the Big East with a record of 7-9 in conference and 16-11 overall.
“It was a tough loss for us today,” head coach Bobby Gonzalez said. “A lot of things went wrong for us. To start the game, we just had bad luck.”
Junior Jeremy Hazell failed to connect on a three point attempt with two seconds left in overtime which seemed to be going in before bouncing off the rim, failing to send the game into a second overtime.
The win for Marquette was their third straight game that they won in overtime on the road, previously beating Cincinnati and then St. John’s.
In the overtime period, Hazell scored 12 of the Pirates” 14 points, including a four point play which put the Hall within one with 25 seconds remaining in overtime.
The Pirates have yet to win a game which has gone to overtime this year, with a record of 0-4 when playing after regulation.
“We can’t get over the hump for some reason,” Gonzalez said. “Overtimes haven’t been good for us this year.”
Even with Hazell being Seton Hall’s offense in overtime, four different Pirates scored in double figures. Junior Jeff Robinson led all scorers with 25 points, a career high, on 11-15 shooting, with Hazell scoring 19 points, all of which came after the start of the second half.
Also in double figures scoring for the Hall was sophomore Jordan Theodore with 18 points on 7-11 shooting and 4-4 from three-point range and senior Eugene Harvey who came one assist shy of a double-double, recording nine assists to go with his 13 points.
“If you can get the ball inside you can score against them,” Gonzalez said. “That’s why Robinson was so successful.”
Every member of the Golden Eagles who started the game finished with at least 40 minutes played, with senior Lazar Hayward leading the team with 23 points and eight rebounds.
Besides the all around scoring, the Pirates received a team effort on the boards, outrebounding Marquette 38-28 while pulling down 14 offensive rebounds.
Sophomore Herb Pope led the Hall grabbing eight rebounds, four offensive, with three other Pirates getting at least five rebounds.
The day got off to a bad start for the Hall when Hazell had to be pulled out of the starting lineup due to back spasms after pregame warm-ups.
“All of a sudden [Hazell] said he couldn’t move,” Gonzalez said. “Something happened to his back. I didn’t know if he was going to play.”
To start the game, Marquette jumped out to an early 15-6 lead fueled by Hayward’s trio of three-pointers.
“You can’t do that,” Theodore said of falling behind early. “We were pretty much fighting back all game.”
For the rest of the first half, the Pirates would stay behind getting as close as five points before ending the half down eight to Marquette.
In the second half, the Pirates went on a 13-7 run making the score 41-39 in favor of Marquette, when Hazell scored his first points of the game to putting the Hall up one.
Down two to Marquette with 5:37 remaining in the game, Harvey was called for an intentional foul on Marquette’s Jimmy Butler, who made one of two free throws. Then on the insuing possession, guard David Cubillian made a three giving the Golden Eagles 62-56 lead.
The Pirates would take the lead right after that, scoring the next seven points after a Theodore three and a Harvey lay-up to take the 63-62 advantage.
With 29 seconds remaining in the game and the Hall down two, Harvey drove to the hoop, but his basket was not allowed as he was fouled before the shot. Instead, he went to the line for two shots instead of a chance at a three point play.
On the ensuing free throws Harvey made both of them to tie the game at 69.
“He found a way to tie the game anyway,” Gonzalez said. “That shows incredible character and toughness.”
Marquette’s Hayward missed a three as time expired sending the game into overtime. This was the Golden Eagles’ third straight game that went into overtime, with them winning the previous two.
From the start of the extra period, Marquette jumped out to a five point lead in the opening minute.
“We hit the wall a little bit,” Gonzalez said. “They got off to a good start but we came back from that.”
Down five, Hazell took over for the Pirates to bring them back into the game, making three three-pointers in a row (with the last of them being a four point play) pulling the Hall within one.
After two Marquette free throws, down three, Hazell put up a shot with hands all around him which hit off the back board and then the front rim before falling out. Pope would tip the shot in but it would not matter as the final buzzer sounded.
“Of course,” Theodore said of giving the last shot to Hazell. “He comes through for us every time we need him.”
The loss may destroy the Pirates NCAA Tournament hopes with only two games remaining before the Big East Tournament.
“It’s not over,” Theodore said. “It’s never over, we believe in fighting to the end. If were going down, were going down fighting.”
The Pirates take on Rutgers tonight in a rematch of the Hall’s 76-70 win on Feb. 23.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.