Coming off a huge tournament win last week in California, Seton Hall looked to continue its strong play on Saturday at the Rock against Louisville. Unfortunately, the Pirates could not keep the winning streak going as the Cardinals came away with a hard fought 70-65 win.
It was a tough loss for the 8,505 in attendance, hoping to see the Hall knock off their second consecutive ACC opponent. I will say though, as much as the loss was disappointing, the loud and energetic atmosphere at the Pru was amazing to be a part of.
There were many highlight reel plays throughout the game that brought the crowd to its feet however. Unfortunately, unlike in their exciting win over Miami in the Wooden Legacy Championship game, Seton Hall just could not lock down Louisville defensively down the stretch.
Had SHU won, it would have been an upset and another resume stuffer because Louisville is VERY good. How good, well, new head coach Chris Mack (who came over from Xavier), just guided his Cardinals to a huge win over #7 Michigan State on Tuesday. Clearly, knocking off the Spartans gave Mack and his pack a lot of momentum coming into Saturday.
To me, the game can be summarized simply: the Pirates couldn’t finish the job. After being up as much as 12 points in the first half, they ended up being outscored 16-6 down the stretch in the second half. Very frustrating for Kevin Willard and his team knowing they were right there with a college basketball blue blood but couldn’t get it done.
Photo: DailyMagazine News
Now for a little behind the scenes insight from the game. I had the opportunity (as a contributor to More Sports Now) to sit in the media section and take notes. It was an amazing experience! Sitting behind me was former ESPN college basketball analyst, and now Fox Sports analyst, Andy Katz. Being in that area, I got some inside information I never would have if I were sitting with friends in the student section. Like when Katz spoke with Willard at halftime, the coach told him that Mike Nzei was throwing up, and Myles Powell was dealing with blurred vision after being hit accidentally during warm ups. Crazy right, and not ideal for a coach when it’s his two best players. The good news was that it didn’t seem to affect Nzei and Powell too much, as they both finished the game and played well.
Photo: Kevin Astorino’s Cell Phone
Here are my final takeaways from the game:
– Sandro Mamukelashvili has developed greatly from year one to two, and because of it has shown an increase in his confidence on the floor.
Photo: Kevin Astorino – Cell Phone
– Powell must continue to get the ball, as an elite scorer, he has earned that right.
– The Hall needs to find a way to rebound the ball as a team better. They were out-boarded 42-28 by Louisville on Saturday. I guess you can call this the Angel Delgado effect.
– Freshman Anthony Nelson looked poised at the PG position, and fellow frosh, Jared Rhoden reminds me of Ismael Sanogo.
– Louisville can flat out shoot the ball, especially from behind the arc. Ryan McMahon’s 3 essentially sealed the deal late in the game for the Cardinals.
Seton Hall will look to bounce back from the Louisville loss on Tuesday, when they host the New Hampshire Wildcats at the Rock.