Saturday, November 14, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Report from the Seton Hall - St. Peter's Game

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ- Maybe this can be chalked up to Friday the 13th. St.Peter's appeared to be on the brink of a notable upset when Eugene Harvey took a pass and launched an on the run buzzer beating trey that found nothing but net to give Seton Hall a 53-51 opening night victory. Wesley Jenkins' jumper had given St.Peter's a 51-50 lead with three seconds remaining. The numbers from the Rock in a 66 possession contest :

Eff.eFG%FT ProdOReb%TO%
St. Peter's77394 (4-10)4026
the Hall80416 (6-11)2823

As Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez noted, St.Peter's did a good job controlling tempo. Seton Hall would have preferred a game in the high 70s possession wise but they could never force the pace. Gonzalez made a good point noting St.Peter's had 17 turnovers but only six came off steals. Simply, the Hall was ready to run on turnovers but only generated a half dozen of the type you can run on. The remainder of St.Peter's turnovers were the traveling, throwing the ball out of bounds or stepping on the line variety.

Credit Jay Wright with an assist. Yes, the Villanova mentor. Three seconds remained with the Hall down one and with the ball being inbounded on their own baseline. Gonzalez ran his "Villanova Scottie Reynolds play". "We got the play from Jay Wright," Gonzalez said. "It is the play Reynolds used to defeat Pitt in the regionals last year. " Gonzalez went on to explain the Hall had a special play for the right side of the floor but "Villanova" gave them an attack to use on the left. It worked. Assist to Jay Wright.

Eugene Harvey did not start but paced the Pirates with 16 points. Gonzalez said that his senior guard missed several practices with a thigh injury so he went with Jordan Theodore in the starting lineup. The coaching cliche tells us "it is not who starts but who finishes". Harvey logged 32 minutes and added 6 rebound and four assists along with his 16 points. Not to mention his own spectacular finish.

Jeremy Hazell struggled through a 2 point game. Hazell shot 0 for 10 from the floor. St.Peter's, in Gonzalez's assessment, "...did a great job switching and not giving him (Hazell) room." A shooter with a virtual green light, once Hazell missed his first few the Pirate junior began rushing and forcing his shots. Again, St.Peter's had a lot to do with that.

Herb Pope turned in a really solid performance in his first game as a Pirate. The New Mexico State transfer scored 6 points, had 7 boards, 6 assists and 4 blocks in 35 minutes.

St.Peter's did a really nice job running some screens and rolls and a few backdoor sets. John Dunne's club did not come in tentative. Jenkins led the Pirates with 16 points while lead guard Nick Leon did a fine job adding 13 points, 4 assists while pulling down 7 rebounds. St.Peter's competed and did an especially sound job on the offensive glass. St.Peter's outrebounded the bigger Pirates 43-35 but their offensive rebounding edge of 17-10 (reflected in the offensive rebounding percentage) was a cause of concern for Gonzalez.

Gonzalez wanted to go inside more on offense but that plan didn?t materialize. "John Garcia got called for a few walks and they (St.Peter's) broke up a few inside passes," the Hall mentor said. "We just got tentative about going inside." Still, the aforementioned Garcia finished with 9 points and a team leading 10 rebounds.

Attendance was 7,001.

Halftime stat of note:

FT Prod
St. Peter's2 (2-2)
the Hall0 (0-0)

That is no misprint. Peter's was 2of 2 while the Hall did not attempt a free throw the first twenty minutes.

Quotes: "St. Peter's set the tempo and played how they wanted. Early in the year I'm just happy to get a win against anybody. Anybody." - Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez

"I told our guys all week let's get ourselves in a position to compete with five minutes to go. And we were right there." - St.Peter's coach John Dunne

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