Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Syracuse 80 Seton Hall 73

My trip to the Rock to see #5 Syracuse play Seton Hall was a success, because Syracuse won as most Poopheads predicted, but we’ll get to the game later, first I’ll describe the other events of the evening.

Trying to meet up with Nails in Newark, a city neither of us has been to very often, was actually pretty easy. What did people do before cell phones? How did you ever meet up with someone at a ballpark or arena? Maybe part of the reason I didn’t see him was that he was completely bundled up so that the only things showing were his eyes. He was dressed for an Antarctic expedition when all we were doing was walking two blocks.

When we got inside we noticed some people taking pictures next to the Seton Hall Butt Pirate mascot. But one of the picture takers happened to be 7-foot-2. It’s about that time I realized it was Luther Wright. I guess we should have talked to him or at least shouted words of encouragement, but I was trying to get a picture which he ruined by continually stepping out of the shot. Not sure why Nails didn’t offer any words of encouragement, I mean the poor guy has been to hell and back.

We actually had pretty decent seats, row 12 behind the basket. I don’t think it was actually the 12th row since there were some temporary seats and we were a little too close to the middle of the section – and therefore obstructed by the basket at times, but for $25 tickets, they were really excellent.

But the guys next to me didn’t think so. Two older Seton Hall fans (I think they were the only two who remember Frank “Pep” Saul when the old-timer was recognized not once, but twice during the game) were constantly complaining about the fans in front of them standing. It began with the regular Syracuse tradition of standing and clapping until the first basket of each half. Then it continued, even after that so they called over an usher who told them the student section (which was in front of us) is allowed to stand during the games and everyone else stands because the people in front of them are standing. But they didn't let it die with that, when the cute girl in front of them put up her arms during a free throw, the old guy freaked out started yelling at her, her brother and father stepped in. I tried to calm him by telling him it was only a free throw. He said it was bad enough she was standing the entire game, but she exasperated (yes he said exasperated) the situation by holding up her arms so he couldn't even see the scoreboard monitor.

But he wasn't the only one behaving boorishly in our section. After a controversial intentional foul was called on Seton Hall Nails screamed "that's fuckin bullshit!" That caused the 8-year-old seated in front of us and his father to turn around and stare in bewilderment at Nails. When I alerted Nails to his breach of arena etiquette he said "that's not his seat, get him out of here!"

Nails was happy to have in our section a few cute girls who must have been students on break who call the Northern New Jersey area home. One of them a few rows up had scissored a simple t-shirt to convert it into a sexy off-the-shoulder look. As far as basketball game attire goes I think she achieved her desired level of sluttiness.

There was a game going on as well, and SU won, 80-73. One downside to attending games is I feel overstimulated and I don't think I pay attention as thoroughly as I do at home. This is the main reason I keep score at baseball games, to sharpen my focus on the action.

But here's what I do know: Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell is a gunner. In each of the last two games he has taken 31 shots and leads the Big East with a conference play scoring average of 39.5. Even though his efficiency is low, Hazell pretty much single-handedly kept the Hall in this game when no one else could make a bucket. He also has huge ears.

As for Syracuse, it probably was their worst performance of the season. Defense wasn't great and Seton Hall got a ton of offensive rebounds, 23 according to the box score.

SU turned the ball over way too much -- 20 times -- half of those by Rautins and Triche and most of them on ill-advised high-risk passes. Triche and Jardine have combined to be a great duo to replace Jonny Flynn precisely because of the smart passing and low turnover total. That's something they need to get back to.

Rick Jackson didn't have a good game. After Onuaku exposed weakness in Seton Hall's interior D in the first half, SU stopped going insde.

Seton Hall did a good job sticking on Rautins and preventing him from getting open 3s.

Wesley Johnson was awesome, he does everything a team needs to win, in this one he grabbed 19 rebounds.

Kris Joseph also had a great second half, scoring on some big runouts and hitting 8 of 9 from the line despite being only a 64% shooter coming in.

The one thing that stood out most for me was SU's aggressiveness late in the game with the lead. In the past I have killed Boeheim for telling his team to sit on the ball with small leads and too much time on the clock. I've always advocated waiting until 15 seconds remained on the shot clock to start looking for a good shot. Several times SU jacked up quick shots and it almost proved to be to their detriment, but good free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the deal.

This was a game of runs (Seton Hall 27-9 in the first half which SU answered with a 14-2 before the half, then Seton Hall had a mini 6-0 run from a tie game, and SU scored the next 15 to put the game away) which made it fun for both sides. But more fun for the Orange, since we won.


Freedo said...

Nothing more fun than going to a game with Nails, even more fun after he has a few drinks. I always love PSU games with him when he is telling (insert Big Ten team) to die and to go fuck themselves.

Paul said...

Here's a classic Nails line from the Knicks run of playoff teams in the 90s:


master bates said...

Nails scream and curse at a game??? I'm completely shocked.