Seton Hall celebrated its first Big East victory of the season on the same day it honored its team that almost won it all 20 years ago.
"We talked for a couple of days with the kids about carving a
piece of the pie for themselves," Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez
said of the hoopla surrounding the return of the 1988-89 team that
lost to Michigan in overtime in the national championship game.
"We felt we could get one."
They did by gutting out a 65-60 victory over No. 12 Georgetown
on Sunday to snap a six-game losing streak.
"We scratched and clawed and fought and made it a
blood-and-guts possession game. We were desperate for it and pulled
it out," Gonzalez said. "The '89 team brought some magic to the
building and gave us a great atmosphere."
The reunion certainly didn't bring any long-range shooting
success to either team.
The Pirates (10-9, 1-6) finished 0-for-13 from 3-point range,
the first time since Dec. 7, 1991, when they went 0-for-11 against
Iona - a span of 504 games - that they didn't make at least one 3.
Georgetown (12-6, 3-4) lost its third straight by shooting a
season-low 32.7 percent (17-for-52), including a 3-for-22 effort
from 3-point range. The Hoyas came into the game third in the
conference in shooting at 48.2 percent but they shot 39.2 percent
in a home loss to West Virginia in their last game.
"We're in a rut. We're in a bad situation right now,"
Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "We have to figure how to
get everyone in that locker room out of it. There's a lot of time
left but in this league we have to quickly regroup."
Jeremy Hazell scored 23 points, including the clinching free
throws with 8.1 seconds left, for Seton Hall but he went 0-for-10
on 3s, a far cry from his season-best 7-for-12 effort in an
overtime loss to Providence on Thursday.
"I thought all 10 were going down," Hazell said, displaying a
shooter's attitude. "My teammates kept encouraging me to take them
and I did but I also found my way to the basket, got fouled and
kept my teammates involved."
Freshman Greg Monroe had 17 points to lead Georgetown and he had
three of the Hoyas' four field goals over the game's final 16:33.
Seton Hall forced the Hoyas to spread their offense against a
zone and except for a brief spurt by Monroe in the second half,
Georgetown just couldn't put the ball in the basket.
The Hoyas shot 25 percent in the second half and at one stretch
went 9:31 without a field goal until Monroe scored down low three
straight times, the last one part of a three-point play that gave
Georgetown its last lead, 56-55 with 4:20 left.
Robert Mitchell, who had 20 points, gave the Pirates the lead
for good on a short jumper 23 seconds later. DaJuan Summers' two
free throws with 1:30 to play brought Georgetown within 61-60 and
even though Seton Hall committed a turnover and then made one of
two free throws twice, the Hoyas couldn't capitalize, missing three
3-point attempts over the final 40 seconds.
"Coming down the stretch we wanted to see if we could get
inside or penetrate to the basket," Thompson said. "The last two
minutes all we took were 3s and that was not the plan.
"We may be in a slump but more important is the decision to
take those shots. Our decision-making in certain situations has to
change, has to get better."
Seton Hall has been limited to basically a six-man rotation and
the minutes were spread even thinner because of foul trouble
"The first win gives you some confidence and is a little reward
toward what you're working for," Gonzalez said. "It was huge for
us today. We deserved it. We needed it. We're limited but the
players don't know that and I'm not going to tell them."
UNLV holds the record with a 3 in 688 consecutive games since
the rule went into effect for the 1986-87 season.