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New Pirates strong in debut

The Pirates defeated the Carleton University Ravens 89-62 on Friday night at Walsh Gymnasium, in its only exhibition game in preparation for the 2009-2010 season.

Sophomore Jordan Theordore led the Hall with 17 points.

"I'm excited about winning and having fun with my teammates," Theodore said at Seton Hall Media Day. "I'm excited about being a Pirate."

He was one of five Pirates to score in double-digits in the game, the others being Herb Pope, Robert Mitchell, Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson.

The team played without last year's scoring leader, Jeremy Hazell, who was out for a non-injury related reason.

Five players made their debut for the Pirates in Friday's game: Pope, Lawrence, Jackson, Ferrakohn Hall and Melvyn Oliver.

Pope had the best game of the five. He scored 15 points in 18 minutes of play, going seven of eight from the field, while also blocking three shots and recording four rebounds.

There were also moments in the game where Pope's emotions really showed. Throughout the contest, he was seen enthusiastically pounding his chest in excitement.

"Herb Pope, I said it a long time and we still haven't played a game yet, that he would be a difference maker if not a program changer," head coach Bobby Gonzalez said at Seton Hall Media Day. "He's even better than I thought he was going to be."

Lawrence and Jackson also had high-quality games, both putting up double-digits in scoring, 13 and 15 respectively.

John Garcia had a quiet game for the Pirates. He scored only seven points in the contest, and only pulled down one rebound.

Rebounding remained a problem for the Pirates, as Carleton pulled down 42 boards to the Hall's 25.

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"We have to improve in half court defense and rebounding," Gonzalez said.

The defense for the Pirates stayed strong throughout the whole game.

The team scored 33 points on 22 Raven turnovers.

"The way to keep everyone accountable is to use your defense and bench," Gonzalez said.

The Hall's bench outscored Carleton 39-8, with Theodore and Jackson combining to score 32 points off the bench.

Every Pirate on the roster got a chance to play in the game, including walk-on Darnell Gatling, who had the student section chanting his name in the final minutes.

Fans also reacted enthusiastically when Melvyn Oliver played.

When he checked into the game for the first time in the first half, the crowd gave him a roaring cheer. This cheer continued throughout the whole game whenever he touched the ball.

In the fifteen minutes Oliver played, he scored four points and blocked four Raven shots.

Gonzalez expects Oliver to be more effective in Big East play, where he will be going up against guys that are more his size.

"A big kid like him, with his footwork, his skill level, his hands, his strength, his size, you just don't get guys like that," Gonzalez said.

Ravens forward Kevin McCleery pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. He also led all scorers with 19 points.

Carleton University has a very storied basketball history.

The Ravens have won six of the last seven Canadian national titles.
Besides their loss to the Hall, they beat Towson University, 95-83, and lost to St. John's University, 71-54.

The Pirates return to action on Nov. 13 when they host St. Peter's at Prudential Center in its regular season opener.

Tim LeCras can be reached at


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