Hall Gets Physical With The Friars

In a "must-win" game to avoid falling to 0-4 in the Big East, the Friars took on the Seton Hall Pirates, a team on the verge of being ranked. The Friars put up another tough effort but in the end did fall to 0-4 in the Big East and 11-6 for the season.

The Pirates came in with confidence, having just beaten a top-10 UConn team and was at the same overall win mark (13) they were at last year. The Friars started off strong, leading by as much as 6 four minutes into the game, but Seton Hall would rally back to keep it toe-to-toe with the Friars.

The Friars went deeper into their bench early on and it helped, especially with their frontcourt struggles. Bilal Dixon looked alive in the first half and earned his minutes for the game, logging in 21 total. Ron Giplaye also logged 5 minutes, but in those five contributed with two rebounds and a bucket. By the half the Pirates only lead by three, 32-29, and the Friars looked confident to keep the game competitive and possibly emerge with a win.

The second half started and, much like recent games, the Friars began to struggle. Bryce Cotton had an off game, going only 1-9 total from the field, 1-7 from the three, despite most of his looks coming from plays that left him wide open. LaDontae Henton also had an off game, going only 2-8 from the field (1-3 from the 3) and, while managing to grab 9 rebounds, snapped his double-double streak.

The Friars looked tired, with turnovers being forced (17 for the game) and being outrebounded by a rugged and scrappy Seton Hall team who grabbed 47 to the Friars 33, including 20 offensive rebounds. This was one of the first times the Friars had gone against a team that truly battered them, as injuries and fouls were being thrown on both ends of the court.

One injury in particular was truly damning to the Friars – when Gerard Coleman drove in on a fast break and collided with Herb Pope, looking to take a charge. The collision brought Coleman crashing down, rolling on the ground for several minutes with a lower back injury. He returned soon after but didn't look the same, although he gutted his way to 10 points.

The Friars rallied late and brought it within a point after Cotton got fouled going up for a three and drained all three free throws, bringing it to 54-53 with about three and a half minutes left. The Friars would not see another basket until it was too late. Jordan Theodore keyed a 9-0 run with a quick jumper and Seton Hall made shots and drained the clock to pull out of reach with a final score of 66-57.

Ed Cooley, in his post game press conference, noted that the biggest thing about this game was toughness. To be mentally tough is a challenge, and he took responsibility by saying that he might not have done enough to teach his kids to value toughness, and that during the game they looked like puppies playing against grown dogs. Cooley planned to let his kids rest for a day and recover before preparing for their game against the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday, in hopes of their first Big East win.

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