Despite an early nine point lead, the No. 10 Seton Hall Pirates lost their second round matchup to the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 68-57 on Wednesday.The Pirates went on an 11-0 run early in the game after Notre Dame took an early 2-0 lead. Junior Jeremy Hazell hit two free throws after being fouled by junior Carleton Scott.Following a missed Irish layup, junior Jeff Robinson hit a running layup coming from the right corner.Senior Eugene Harvey stole the ball from Irish junior Ben Hansbrough, and followed with a layup. On the ensuing Irish possession, junior Tyrone Nash committed a traveling violation.After a Notre Dame timeout, Hazell hit a three pointer from the right wing, giving the Hall a 9-2 lead.Following a slew of missed layups by the Irish, Jeff Robinson finished the 11-0 run with a putback layup to give the Hall an 11-2 lead.Notre Dame would follow with three baskets in a row, including four points from senior Luke Harengody to cut the lead to 11-8.Later, with 5:19 to play in the half, Notre Dame went on a run of their own.Senior guard Jonathan Peoples hit a pull up jump shot from the right wing to tie the game at 17.Harengody followed with a layup while being fouled.After the made free throw, the Pirates would miss a shot and Peoples followed with a short field goal from in front of the basket.After a Hansbrough stole the ball from junior Herb Pope, Harengody would finish a layup.This gave the Irish a 24-17 lead.At the time, Pope was playing with two fouls and in the next Irish possession, Pope would pick up his third, sending him to the bench.Head coach Bobby Gonzalez said he was forced to put Pope back in the game because “it was getting away from us.””When I put Herb back in the game, it was basically to try and save us from going under water,” Gonzalez said.The Pirates would cut the game to one possession, following two free throws from Pope and a Hazell putback lay up.However, the Irish would score on back-to-back possessions to end the first half with a 28-21 lead.
Notre Dame would open up the second half with a 7-0 run and a 14 point lead.Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash would hit back-to-back field goals and Jackson would hit a three pointer and a field goal of his own, pushing the Irish lead to 35-21.Notre Dame would get their lead up to 16 with 11:30 remaining in the game when Hansbrough hit a field goal and a three pointer and the Irish would not look back from there.Harengody would lead all scorers with 20 points.Hazell led the Hall with 15 points.The Pirates will now wait for “Selection Sunday” to see their post season fait.They are still on the NCAA bubble, however experts from ESPN and NITology.com believe the Pirates will be a No. 1 seed in the National Invitational Tournament beginning next week.
Tim LeCras can be reached at email@example.com.