Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good Gonzo! Hall Tops Johnnies 59-50

Last night was a night of uncertainties. Question marks if you will. With the Hall's senior captain and (walk-on?) point guard Eugene Harvey (see left) out with a bruised wrist, how would JT handle the pressures of being the primary ball handler? Would Stix's sticks be up for the increase in minutes? Would Ben's lineup that he's been clamoring for finally get time together on the court? Would we respond well to playing at the dreaded Carnesecca Arena...Gonzo's supposed "House of Horrors?"

Well, last night, I think Ben and I found our answer. Doing his best Allen Iverson impression, Jeff "Robblehead" Robinson continued to prove how invaluable he is to our beloved Pirates. When Jeremy Hazell went down with a gash in his shooting hand, we were left to wonder: "who are we going to follow?" We then watched as the mopboys (or men?) "followed (the blood of) Hazell" all over the hardwood, moping up drops Hansel and Gretyl style.

Fortunately, Jeff, like the beast he is, showed he was up to the challenge of leading the Pirates to victory. And, following in his man-child footsteps, was none other than crowd favorite Stixie Mitchell. Like two peas in a pod, Jeff and Stix combined for 31 of Seton Hall's 59 points and 14 of the 35 rebounds. Sounds like we got the right answer after all, Professor G!

Luckily, we were able to come up with some answers last night. Claiming our first BIG EAST road victory was certainly no easy task, especially against Metro rival St. Johns. Now that we passed our first test, how will we fare Saturday against West Virginia? That's the question...hopefully Gonzo can come up with the answer.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hall Uses "Head" to Beat Depaul

Seton Hall has been accused of not playing smart basketball this season. Well, we certainly used our head in this one!

Let's start with the racially ambiguous Bobby G bobblehead. Handed out to fans like x-mas presents in February, these must-haves really were quite shocking. Nothing like receiving a box adorned with a blonde-haired coach only to unwrap a figurine of SNL's Obama impersonation. Talk about change we can believe in! (A quick tip... If you pull the string on the back of Gonzo's suit, you can hear the bobblehead mutter "That's right, Fooch" while nodding furiously.)

But that wasn't the only head that got attention on Sunday. A slight modification to the halfcourt hardwood logo increased the size of the Pirate head by a significant magnitude. While a bit over-the-top for my liking, the gigantic Pirate head is a little better than the other proposed alteration... namely, a huge profile of Jeremy's dome marked with an X like a treasure map and the words "Follow Hazell" inscribed on each yellow-brick path.

Amidst it all, there was also some heady play. JRob had a smart game and was very efficient offensively. And even Gonzo used his head when he removed Pope late for foul shooting reasons. He also finally inserted the line-up we've been clamoring for: Theodore, Hazell, Stix, JRob, Pope. It was probably the best two minutes we've played all year. Overall, we rotated well and it was nice to see Fero get consistent minutes.

Well, let's hope we bring our A Brain against St. Johns, because that's a win we absolutely need.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Luck of the Pirates; Hall Wins 90-87

Last night was a rather unusual night. Ben got stuck at work and had to literally swim his way through brands in order to find the door and I had the distinct pleasure of taking care of my fair lady after a bad spill on the ice yesterday morning (I keep telling her that if she is going to go in for the hip check, she should always wear a helmet...but she just doesnt want to listen). With that being said, there was abolutely zero Setonia coverage at a game that Seton Hall desperately needed.

Except, there was. Thanks in part to a series of texts from Vinman, subliminal messages from Gary Cohen and Wonderboy Popkin, and a well timed Jerry Walker leg extension to trip up Luke Harangody, Setonia was there in full force - represented well throughout the diverse cross-section of fans. And of course, last night's success would not have been possible if it weren't for Mike Lazardis and John McCain, co-founders of the modern day blackberry! Thanks JMac!

So thank you to all those who kept us in the loop and for playing your part in a much needed Seton Hall victory. Oh, and thank you to J'zell for getting hot at the right time and Nunu for showing your senior leadership. And to Gonzo for not getting any technical fouls. And to Tim Abromaitis and Carleton Scott for missing wide open three's at the end of the game...we definitely owe you guys one!

Maybe, after all, it's better to be lucky AND good than just plain old lucky. Now, on to Sunday and the race to see who can be the first in line to get the Bobby Gonzalez bobble head doll...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Out of Sight... Out of Mind

Dave and I had quite the trip planned to Pittsburgh. We were going to tour abandoned steel factories. Wade in three rivers. Sip Heinz ketchup. But alas, it was not to be. White-out conditions made it impossible to get there.

So, how are we dealing with the thwarted trip? The same way we're dealing with the embarrassing loss to Pitt. We're whiting it out. It never happened. Like a Tower of Learning submerged in a snowbank, it simply doesn't exist.

Okay... let's beat Notre Dame!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nova Slap Chops Hall 81-71

It was a night of infomercials. And what should have been a commercial for Seton Hall's chances to make a late season push for the NCAA tournament turned out to be a dud, reminiscent of the failed 1999 "Just For Feet" Super Bowl commercial. Rather than watching the Budweiser "Respect" commercial - or better yet, Justin Timberlake tearing off Janet Jackson's top - Ben and I were forced to sit through seemingly endless ads for cat hair removal, nose hair trimmers, Snuggies, and slap choppers. Ahh, the life of a Seton Hall basketball fan...

The Pirates travelled to the Pavillion Tuesday night to tackle newly anointed #2 Villa-no-fun. Everyone expected this old school Catholic school rivalry to be a great game; ESPNU brought in its big guns in Len Elmore and Dave O'Brien and Fortune 5,000 companies outbid each other for the highly coveted two minute infomercial slot. And, in typical Seton Hall fashion, the first thirty three minutes of the game were great.

J'zell had an unusually efficient game - nailing down jumpers as proficiently as a Slap Chop slices and dices carrots - and Gonzo even managed get Lil' El and Fero Hall off the bench for some quality playing time. And, in one of the more bizarre plays of the evening, Fero showed that he might have a future in Mens Volleyball after jumping through the roof to spike the basketball out of bounds. Nice kill, Fero! As usual, Keon and JT had outstanding defensive games, combining to more or less shut down Scottie "McBottie" Reynolds and Nova's dangerous guards for most of the game. Despite still struggling offensively, it is nice to see Neon contribute on the defensive side and be as much of a shutdown defender as we have.

However, despite all the lead changes and ties, it always felt like some pieces of the puzzle were missing. His Holy See got into foul trouble early and was a virtual non factor in the first half. Also, JRob and Keon saw more time on the bench than the hardwood in the first half leading Ben and I to wonder if our Holy Trinity had...gasp...transferred!?!? Scratching our collective heads as to where three of our best players were for the first half, Ben and I kept scratching (furiously) as the game wound down and our only offensive threat of the evening was sitting on the bench. Not seeing flagman that evening, had Gonzo chosen to wave the proverbial (blue and) white flag himself!? Was he simply trying to send J'zell a message? Whatever the case may be, our heads are still hurting two days later from all that scratching!

Another game and another disappointing loss, we decided to do the only thing two obsessive fanaticals would the next flight to Pittsburgh! John and Gertrude Peterson wont know what hit them...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Holden Everything! Hall Loses (Innocence)

Well, JD Salinger is dead. RIP. And lying right next to him, just faintly breathing, is our dream of a postseason berth.

In a way, it's a fitting tribute to one of the most captivating American authors of all time. SHU fans were riding high. We had just beaten Louisville. Just beaten Pitt. Dave and I were excited like little children, giggling in a field of poppies and Cinderella pumpkins.

But, you see, childhood can't last forever. And yesterday was our coming-of-age. With the ball dribbling off Mitchell's left Stick, and tears dribbling from my literal eyes, I watched as my innocence imploded. This loss truly took the "boost" out of us Boosters.

Can we come back? Sure. We match up well against Nova, and an upset isn't out of question. In my post-game FB chat with Keon, I told him I wanted at least 3 blocks against Reynolds. Can it happen? Maybe. But the truth remains: our wide-eyed optimism is gone.

Why did we lose? Too many reasons to mention. Admittedly, give USF credit for making some impossible shots. But, for STARTERS, why did we change ours?? The lineup was finally working, Gonzo! Why mess with a good thing?

Also, JROB was a beast in the first half. Why doesn't he see more time?

And Pope needs more rest -- it's unfathomable to expect him to play so hard for so long. Fero needs more touches!

And our offensive reverted back to its old ways. Out of synch, without much sense of purpose.

Perhaps Holden said it best:

"I don't even know what I was running for - I guess I just felt like it."

Well said, comrade. Well said.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pirates Pinch Panthers 64-61

We all knew we could compete. With heartwrenching losses against West Virginia, Syracuse and UConn that was never the question. The question was: could we win? Well, with consecutive home victories over Louisville and 9th ranked Pittsburgh, we are starting to see the answer. In both wins, the Hall controlled the game in convincing fashion, displaying a patience and determination - on both sides of the ball - that we havent seen all that much this year.

Are we the Princeton Tigers of the 1960s? No, nor do we really want to be. Is Gonzo the second coming of Peter Carril? Not exactly. Is Herb Pope a modern day Bill Bradley? Unfortunately not, despite his striking White House similarities. But, over the past few games, Seton Hall has been playing with a newfound sense of conviction and confidence, especially in half court sets - one that would make even Maybrey Forney blush!

What was so surprising, yet so encouraging, about this Seton Hall win was we did it in rather uncharacteristic fashion. With J'Zell picking up his third foul midway through the first half, the team was forced to play without its leading scorer and offensive threat. While the team could have easily folded and played the "blame the refs" game, we were able to share the ball more effectively and the players were allowed to play within themselves rather than simply giving the ball to Jeremy and watching with their mouths wide shut. His Holy See was a force to be reckoned with down in the low post and the combination of JT, Neon Keon, and Eugenius were spectacular. Plain and simple - we beat Pitt at their own game, without one of our best scorers.

This particular victory was especially sweet. Not only did we take down Jamie Dixon's 9th ranked Pittsburgh team. Not only was cult hero "Coach Gonzo" in the hizzy. But yesterday was the annual Seton Hall Booster Club dinner at Gabe Lopez's very own Don Pepes! The paella was delicious and the speakers were great. Below are a few highlights for all those who couldnt make it:

- Coach Gonzo: He always provides great fodder for the blogs, but unfortunately I dont think it would be appropriate to use most of it. He was obviously riding high after the game and was effusive in his praise of the team and the fan support.

- "Foooooooch": Ever the crowd pleaser, he spoke highly of Gonzo and kept referring to the now famous quote about our beloved coach, "He makes coffee nervous."

- Vince and Sal: The behind the scenes guys who put together this great event year in and year out. With two of the biggest wins in the last couple of years coming on the heels of the Booster Club Dinner, you guys might want to think about having the dinner before every home game! I sure wouldn't mind...

- Glen Mosley: He regaled us with stories of his Pirate days under Bill Raftery and keyed us in on the secrets of rebounding. He also mentioned that if asked he would love to help the Pirates become a better rebounding team. Is anyone friends with him on Facebook!?!?

- And last, but definitely not least, the Paella. Simply amazing.