Game #9-054: Rhode Island vs. Seton Hall PiratesNovember 18, 2012 7:00 pm
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - At the end of a long weekend, I either misread or didn't bother to look at the schedule of Sunday's games to see that the championship game of the Naismith Bracket of the Hall of Fame Tournament (see: major schools) was going to take place before the consolation.
Which meant I had to sit through a Ohio St.-Washington game to get to Rhode Island-Seton Hall at 7 p.m., the eighth game of a long weekend.
I muttered some obscenities and made me way out to the casino, only the ticket wouldn't scan and I had to sit there for five minutes to figure it out. More foul language.
I looked and saw a few seats open on some blackjack tables, which also had a decent view of all of NFL games going on at the time. I won yesterday, I'd just add to it, of course.
&!$&!%. That didn't take long.
I looked down at my phone and saw it about to run out of juice, so I had to run back to the parking garage and sit there with the car running for 10 minutes.
Finally, I made my way back to my seat for the second half of Ohio St.'s systematic destruction of Washington (the PAC-12 is terrible, by the way) led by Deshaun Thomas' 31 points.
Finally, two-and-a-half hours later than I thought, Danny Hurley got set to lead Rhode Island against his alma mater, Seton Hall, in front of about half the crowd that saw them take on Ohio St. the day before. I went into the near impossible situation Hurley finds himself in this season
, but his team will surely battle.
And, surely, even if Hurley knew he wasn't going to win many games, he wanted this one. Not only against his alma mater, but against a Big East team, and one local to where he grew up in Jersey City, N.J.
I wanted it, too, so I could have my first Red Line Upset recap, and this might be one of the best chances of the season to get one, unless I want to splurge and go to an NCAA Tournament game in March. Hey, you never know.
It looked for all the world that the stars were aligned for Rhode Island, even with a cadre of injured players and transfers at the end of the bench (Serbian senior Nikola Malesevic, one of the people that kept URI in the game against Ohio St., also didn't play in Sunday's game). Sophomore Mike Powell couldn't miss, and the hungry Rams were outworking Seton Hall all over the floor to the tune of a 27-14 lead late in the first half, a lead that shrunk only marginally, to 32-23, by the break.
If you read my Norfolk St.-UMKC recap
, it was now more than nine hours since my arrival at Mohegan Sun, and I looked around to see if any of the original 15 were still here. The guy and his son in the Kentucky jersey had held out through the third game, but now they were gone. I noticed a security guard Oswald, who had been near me on Saturday as well (he spent all of Saturday looking up into the empty stands looking for potential danger, a tough job to maintain concentration for many hours straight. On Sunday, he was guarding the team bench). But that was about it.
I also read up on Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, whom we might remember from coaching Iona for three seasons. Obviously, he comes from a coaching family
and he might have a bright future, but he was hired in March of 2010, and you get the feeling had it been a year later, Danny Hurley might be the head coach of Seton Hall. As it was, after Seton Hall struggled at the end of last season, some fans clamored for Hurley to take over for Willard
, even though he had only been there for two seasons.
But as with many things in life, timing is everything. And if you believe the hype, it's possible that Rhode Island may catch and pass Seton Hall soon in prestige. It's a little disconcerting to look at the current Seton Hall roster and see very little New York City presence. With the Big East imploding by the day, who knows if Hurley will want the job in a couple of years anyway? Maybe, gasp, they'll be below the Red Line by then.
Seton Hall stepped up their defensive intensity, but the Rhode Island offense that consisted mostly of waiting until the shot clock runs down and throwing up a prayer worked surprisingly well for a while, most notably when Powell not only had his prayer answered, but was fouled for a four-point play, putting the Rams up 50-41 with 10:24 to go.
Like a soccer team defending a one-goal lead late in the game, Hurley's team clung to its advantage with all their might, but when Kyle Smyth - who started with Willard at Iona, played in last season's NCAA Tournament and came over this season via the graduate school rule - knocked down a clutch three-pointer with 90 seconds to go, it was 55-54.
The Rhode Island student section, which had started in the upper deck, by now had made its way to court level. Again, the shot clock ran down, and again Powell hit a miraculous leaning 25-footer. Except whistles blew. The shot came after the buzzer. Hurley could just look on in stunned silence.
He tried to get his defense fired up, but Fuquan Edwin drove down the lane and gave Seton Hall its first lead of the entire night with 36 seconds left. Powell turned it over, the Pirates made their free throws, and there would be no Red Line Upset on this night.
"$%&!," I said a little too loud to no one in particular, a disappointing end to a long, long day.
The Rhody faithful still gave the now 0-4 squad a decent ovation as they started to leave the floor. Hurley was classy in the handshake line and acknowledged the crowd before slowly headed down the tunnel. My seat happened to be right there and as Hurley left, I started to grab my stuff before hearing the sound of a frustrated coach a few feet away.
"F*ck!" SETON HALL 60, RHODE ISLAND 55
RHODE ISLAND 0-4 (0-0) -- A. Malone 5-12 0-0 12; M. Powell 6-10 2-3 19; X. Munford 3-15 0-0 7; R. Brooks 1-2 0-0 2; A. Bigby 2-3 3-4 7; J. Hare 2-3 0-0 4; M. Aaman 2-2 0-0 4; T. Buchanan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 5-7 55.
SETON HALL 3-1 (0-0) -- G. Teague 7-11 7-9 21; P. Auda 3-6 0-0 6; T. Maayan 0-3 2-2 2; B. Oliver 2-8 2-2 8; F. Edwin 3-8 6-9 12; K. Smyth 1-3 1-2 4; A. Cosby 2-5 2-2 7; H. Karlis 0-0 0-0 0; A. Geramipoor 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 20-26 60.
Three-point goals: URI 8-20 (A. Malone 2-6; A. Bigby 0-1; M. Powell 5-6; X. Munford 1-7), SHU 4-15 (K. Smyth 1-3; B. Oliver 2-5; F. Edwin 0-2; A. Cosby 1-3; T. Maayan 0-2); Rebounds: URI 26 (R. Brooks 9), SHU 24 (G. Teague 9); Assists: URI 6 (X. Munford 3), SHU 9 (T. Maayan 5); Total Fouls -- URI 21, SHU 15; Fouled Out: URI-None; SHU-None.