Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By Mike Vorkunov
NEWARK, N.J. — Jordan Theodore put the burden of Friday night’s loss to Temple on himself. The lack of fluidity on offense, the bad decisions, and the poor shots. The 46 points that Seton Hall barely scratched out. That was all on him.
So he came out Sunday and made amends. In leading the Pirates to a 92-68 victory over Cornell, Theodore played like a point guard possessed. He scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out seven assists.
Theodore ran up most of those stats in the first half as his team jumped out to a 24-point lead. He broke down the defense, frequently drawing two defenders to find an open teammate or driving and kicking. He controlled the tempo and flow of the offense, facilitating baskets and plays.
“My job is to get people involved, run the team, run the offense,” he said. “Then when things break down, then get us that bucket we need or do whatever I have to do.”
After the team held a film session Saturday night, Theodore realized what his responsibilities within the offense are and what he should do.
“I held on to the ball too long, I went in there with the trees,” Theodore said of what he did wrong against Temple. “I missed a lot of people when I was drawing a lot but I wasn’t kicking. So I just watched a lot of film and tried to do everything I didn’t do Friday night, tonight.”
“If you can’t go in there and understand your mistakes and learn from it and improve then you’re not really a basketball player.”
In addition to Theodore, Seton Hall received a big game from Jeremy Hazell. He played efficiently, with a dream stat line. Hazell shot 8-of-11 to score 28 points, hitting four of his six three pointers and all of eight of his free throws.
“My efficiency in not trying to take bad shots and take the ones I’m open, I really worked on that in the offseason,” Hazell said. “Right now, it’s really playing into my hands and I’m feeling good when my teammates got me the ball when I’m open.”
It was the type of game that Hazell and coach Kevin Willard spent the preseason talking about as he limited his bad shots and decisions.
“I think that’s something that Jeremy has worked hard on, to get better quality shots,” said Willard. “I thought he played terrific. He’s played terrific all year so far.”
But as well as Hazell played, even acknowledged that it starts with Theodore.
“Jordan sets the tone for everybody,” said Hazell. “He’s our floor general. He demands the ball. He tells everybody where to go. Once he gets on a roll, then we know we will be on a roll.”
Jeff Robinson recorded his first double-double of the year, scoring 16 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Herb Pope added 13 points and six rebounds.
Fuquan Edwin, Theodore’s former Paterson Catholic teammate, started at guard again with Eniel Polynice coming of the bench. Seton Hall radio announcer Gary Cohen reported that Polynice arrived late due to his grandmother passing away.
FREE THROWSNkereuwem Okoro ’12, Kwanique Martin ’12, Jaren Sina ’13, Isaiah Lewis ’13, Kavon Stewart ’13, Hallice Cook ’13 & Brendan Boyle ’14 were in attendance for the game, according to Alex Kli e. Jarelle Reischel ’11, however, was not in attendance because of car trouble. Reischel is still down to Seton Hall, Rice & Penn State…After watching Kiski Prep (PA) play on Saturday night, the Seton Hall staff offered scholarships to 7’4 Sim Bhullar ’12, 7’2 Tanveer Bhullar ’13 & 6’9 Stefan Jankovic ’12…Onetime Seton Hall commit Eugene McCrory, a postgrad forward from CJEOTO, took an unofficial to Hofstra this weekend.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.