Seton Hall rides balanced attack past St. Peter's

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's never easy when a team loses a 24-point per game scorer and All-American candidate. Seton Hall is finding that out now, ever since the Pirates lost Jeremy Hazell for at least six weeks to a broken wrist.

"We have to fight through it," said senior forward Herb Pope after the Pirates muddled their way through a 69-49 victory over Saint Peter's on Monday night. "It's not easy losing all those points. We have to deal with that now."

"When you get 24 points taken off the board, you have to grind it out a little," first-year Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "This is how we have to play."

Jordan Theodore paced a balanced scoring attack with 11 points and Jeff Robinson added 10, leading 10 Pirates who reached the scoring column.

It marked the 15th straight time that the Pirates (3-3) defeated their cross-state rivals and the 23rd win in the last 24 meetings in the long-standing rivalry that spans eight decades. This marked the 63rd straight year that the two schools met.

Seton Hall used an 11-0 run in the first half to take the lead for good and a 10-0 run in the second half to put the game away.

The Peacocks (2-4) were paced by Ryan Bacon, who had 13 points.

Pope added eight points and 10 rebounds for Seton Hall.

The Pirates took the lead for good in the early stages of the first half, going on an 11-0 run, highlighted by three drives to the hoop by Theodore, who did not start the game.

Theodore's final drive gave Seton Hall a 19-9 lead with 8:33 remaining in the slow-paced first half.

"There was no punishment involved," Willard said of his decision to bring Theodore, the junior point guard, off the bench. "We put a lot of pressure on Jordan to get us going. We wanted to get him a chance to see the floor and see what was going on. Jordan came in and did what was expected of him. He controlled the game."

"I was comfortable with it," Theodore said. "I watched what the defense was doing and then got in there and did what I'm supposed to do. I was able to come in there and break them down."

Seton Hall held the lead throughout the remainder of the half and led 29-20 at intermission. The Peacocks shot just 29 percent from the floor (7 for 24) in the half. Overall, the Peacocks shot just 34 percent (17 of 50).

"We just missed a lot of wide-open looks," Saint Peter's coach John Dunne said. "In the end, they're bigger, stronger and more physical and took advantage of that."

The Peacocks cut the lead to 36-30 on a three-point play from Bacon with 16:12 left, but the Pirates then scored the next eight points to push the lead to 44-30 with 13:09 remaining.

Seton Hall scored 10 straight points in the second half to put the game away. Ferrakohn Hall threw down two dunks and Jamel Jackson capped the run with a long 3-pointer, pushing the lead to 56-36 with 8 minutes left.

Willard was happy with the way his team responded after losing to Clemson and Xavier in the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"We had two tough losses and had to put in three new offensive sets," Willard said. "I was just getting comfortable with our substitutions and had to scrap all of that and start all over. It was the first time we realized Jeremy wasn't here and there was a bit of a shock."