Thursday, December 31, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Syracuse vs Seton Hall at the Rock

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ - Through two Big East games we see Seton Hall is competitive with the heavyweights in the conference. Coach Bobby Gonzalez wants more. Specifically, a win or two. Again the Hall competed but fell short losing to fifth ranked Syracuse 80-73 at the Prudential Center on Tuesday.

The Possessions:
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Efficiency and Factors:


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Seton Hall enjoyed a 46-44 rebounding edge but was 25-14 over Syracuse on the offensive glass. Herb Pope led the way with 17 rebounds (7 on the offensive boards). Gonzalez was pleased with the Hall forcing turnovers (20). On the other end the Pirates had only 13 TOs for a nice 17% rate.

Once again shooting was an Achilles heel for the Hall. You can include two point (37%), three point (27%) and free throw (58%) shooting as equal culprits. Regardless, it is a concern for Gonzalez and his club. In the succession of land mines known as the Big East you can’t shoot under 35%, even under 40 and expect to win with consistency.

Wes Johnson led Syracuse with 20 points 19 rebounds. Rick Jackson (4 points) and Arinze Onuaku (12 points) did not light up the scoreboard. The pair of Syracuse wide bodies posed a defensive problem as a weak side defender had to drop down when one of them received a pass. That helped open things for the previously mentioned Johnson as well as Kris Joseph (16 points), Scoop Jardine and Andy Rautins (10 points each).

Jeremy Hazell had another big offensive night with a game high 38 points. Hazell and Pope (15) were the only Pirates to score in double figures. Another consistent scorer is needed if the Pirates are to start knocking off the conference elite. A candidate could be Keon Lawrence. The junior guard struggled offensively 5 points on 1 of 8 shooting but showed he can put numbers on the board during his freshman year at issouri.The efficiency breakdown of the respective teams’ game high scorers

Wes JohnsonJeremy Hazell

Overall a solid night for Johnson, 54% (7 of 13) from two point range, plus a rebounding and shot blocking factor as well.

Syracuse enjoyed a 30-15 advantage in bench scoring. Coach Jim Boeheim can go to his reserves and not lose a great deal, something to consider as conference play progresses.

“We haven’t had many close games like this. It was tough down the stretch but we found a way to win.” - Coach Boeheim

“We are a team that can score and spurt on anybody in the country. But we haven’t found a way to sustain it as of yet,” - Coach Gonzalez

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