Well, we should have known it was going to be a tough night when after literally sprinting to the Prudential Center, security officials kept Ben and me waiting outside in the all too Syracuse like weather conditions before letting the herds of t-shirt hungry fans into the building. We definitely thought we were in for it when it turned out that Little Miss Piggins was one of our three esteemed referees for the evening. Have I mentioned yet the dozens of family members and friends - so called Setonia supporters - turning against us to root for their "favorite team"? And I don't even want to think about the omen that was sent from above when Jerry Walker's plea to the Pirate fans was suddenly cut off because of technical difficulties. With seemingly thousands of soon-to-be unemployed Syracuse students descending upon the Prudential Dome, err Center, the Hall was in for one tough evening.
However, for one magical evening, it seemed like The Hall would finally be able to climb the never ending pile of obstacles and adversity in its way and claim its first BIG EAST victory. Or at least it seemed that way. It seemed that way when Joe from Montclair won the Shot Clock Challenge and a whopping $500 to the Seton Hall University Bookstore (Joe, you might want to check in with Kwillet - official school Postmaster - to see how to wisely spend all that money...be careful, they screw you on the shipping charges!). It sure seemed that way when Flagman tied a school record, making eight ovular laps around an increasingly injury ridden cheerleader squad. And oh, by the way, we had a 12 point lead at one point in the first half.
Well, for all you newcomers to the blog, welcome to the life of a Seton Hall Pirate basketball fan. While at times we were able to make Syracuse's famed 2-3 zone look like a block of Emmental, there were just as many times where our own bigs' hands resembled the Swiss product. And for all the "trans-fusion" that took place - did anyone else see the feed by Keon to Pope who threw down a thunderous dunk over, yep, you guessed it, JRob!?!? - we got hosed on a critical 10 second violation against Syracuse that wasn't called. So even though we went up 12 points towards the end of the first half, we were not able to squeeze that juice machine hard enough, allowing the Orangemen to close the half on a 14-2 run.
For every Keon pass to a cutting Hazell under the basket, just as many balls seemed to slip out of the grasp of Pope and Garcia, resulting in empty possessions and missed opportunities. Although Keon played arguably his best came since coming back from his suspension (5 pts, 5 rbs, 4 asts, and 4 steals) and Pope returned to seeing double-double, if it were not for another Herculean effort by Hazell (38 points, 6-15 from 3pt), we would have lost by 20 points....at least.
So, as the Hall prepares to take its battle south of the border to Cancun, Mexico, all we can do at Setonia is wish for one thing this New Year's...a Seton Hall Victory!! Oh, and fellas, bring me back a Senor Frogs wristband!
Happy New Year's!