Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pirate Flag Not Enough as Hall Falls Short, 84-70

After a sensational victory Thursday night against nationally ranked flowerpower USC, Seton Hall returned to the Coliseo to take on the 12th ranked Memphis Tigers.  Riding the emotional roller coaster that was Thursday night, the Hall entered Friday's game high on adrenaline and plantain juice, yet physically battered.  How would Puerto Rico's first son - co-captain John Garcia - hold up against the likes of Sean Taggart and Robert Dozier? Would Paul Gause's surgically repaired left knee survive a tough matchup against Tyrekee Evans?  Even more worrisome - would my left eye survive another grueling session of basketball? (I have a scratched cornea...don't worry, I'll be OK).

The game ran its course the way many expected it to. Memphis proved why it is the 12th ranked team in the country and why it was the runner-up in last year's NCAA championship game. It showed freakish athleticism, the discipline not to turn the ball over against our relentless press and the ability to score from anywhere on the court. However, the game was not a wash. John Garcia held his own against the monsters of Memphis, playing the majority of a bruising and taxing game. Sophmore sharpshooter Jeremy Hazell scored a game high 30 points, draining 3s and attacking the basket with reckless abandon.  Seton Hall's best overall performance probably came from Eugene Harvey.  Nunu slashed and dashed his way to the hoop, regaining his freshman year form and truly playing up to the competition.  Also, Nunu showed a defensive intensity that is definitely fueled by his competitive friendship with freshman guard Jordan Theodore which is great to see.  But by far the most exciting moment of the game came with 21.7 seconds left as Matt "O'Say" Cajuste made his mark on this Seton Hall team and saw his first action as a Pirate.  Cajuste capitalized on his minimal playing time, catching the ball as often as he could after Memphis made their foulshots to end the game. 

As I wrap up this post, I want to leave our readers with some questions that I meant to ask Bobby Gonzalez in our post-game interview...Why did John Garcia play so many minutes in a game that was, for the most part, out of reach?  Will Paul Gause recover from an hip injury towards the end of the second half?  When will Brandon Wawa grow a pair of mitts...?

Until those questions are answered, we must now prepare for the final game of this magnificent tip-off tournament against the Virginia Tech Hokies.  Game time set for 6pm PRT (Puerto Rico Time) on ESPNU.  See y'all there. 



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