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.