After getting taunted by Seton Hall fans, JP Macura calls it ‘super satisfying’ to send them home early | Zagsblog
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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.
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Sunday / April 14.
  • After getting taunted by Seton Hall fans, JP Macura calls it ‘super satisfying’ to send them home early

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA & DENNIS CHAMBERS

    NEWARK — Led by the red-clad Rock’s Lobsters, Seton Hall’s student section taunted JP Macura all game long on Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center.

    “You suck, JP,” was a common refrain heard from the Lobsters, a group of 10 who congregate just behind press row on one end of The Rock.

    “Trying to throw him off his game,” Seton Hall junior John Mailley told ZAGSBLOG. “We know he’s a good player so if we could rattle him in the slightest bit, we could throw his game off a little bit.”

    In the end, though, Macura had the last laugh. He put up a game-high 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, along with 5 rebounds and 3 assists to lead No. 11 Xavier to a 73-64 win over No. 19 Seton Hall after the Pirates led by double-digits in the second half. (On Monday, Macura was named Big East Player of the Week.)

    “I feel like I play better when people talk to me,” Macura told ZAGSBLOG. “I try to shut them out as much as possible and it was super satisfying when they left the arena when we were up 7 with time on the clock left.”

    “You know, he’s not the guy that’s going to go into a shell when he gets heckled,” Xavier coach Chris Mack told ZAGSBLOG.

    The Rock’s Lobsters started taunting Macura, who recently got into a verbal altercation in the handshake line with Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, during pre-game warmups.

    “In warm-ups I was [noticing them] a little bit because they were screaming at me but it didn’t really affect me too much during the game,” Macura said. “Not even close.”

    Macura was also motivated by the fact that he and his fellow seniors were 0-3 at Prudential Center in their careers.

    “It feels great honestly because as seniors we haven’t won here and coach talked about how we needed to be more physical with them and don’t get punked on the glass,” Macura said. “And play tough and strong with the ball, and I think a lot of the guys did that.”

    “He didn’t want to leave the Prudential Center with a donut,” Mack added.

    Mack knows Macura loves a challenge.

    “I just felt like he played inspired,” Mack said of Macura. “I know everybody will point to the points but his effort, diving after lose balls and tying it up and tip-dunking, his defensive intensity, I thought it was off the charts. And it was needed.”

    It was the Rock’s Lobsters, not Macura, who ended up with the loss.

    “Not gonna lie, it sucks but he’s a good player,” said Seton Hall junior Alex Barbara. “Can’t take that away from him. Wish it was someone else but we’ll see them later on in the season.”

    After playing just four minutes in the Pirates’ loss on Wednesday to Creighton, Desi Rodriguez led the way for Seton Hall with 19 points. However, adding in his seven turnovers and the fact that each of his fellow starters registered at least three fouls, his bounce-back effort wasn’t enough to close out the win.

    The teams meet again Feb. 14 at Xavier, and could square off a third time in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden come March.

    As Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard crossed paths with Mack in a hallway following the game, Willard shouted, “Chris, best of luck, baby. Good job. I can’t wait till JP graduates.”

    Mack returned the compliment.

    “Hey,” he said, “I feel the same way about your guys.”

    Photo: Chris McManus/SHUhoops.com

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