Seton Hall 92, Cornell 68

After playing like strangers in a season-opening loss, Seton
Hall received just what it needed to get in sync: an overmatched
Cornell team.

The Pirates ran roughshod in the first half, jumping out to a
24-point lead and putting it on cruise control the rest of the way
for a 92-68 victory at the Prudential Center.

”I thought we played pretty well most of the game,” said coach
Kevin Willard. ”We started gambling a little bit, but that
happens. I was pretty pleased most of the game.”

Jeremy Hazell scored 28 points, leading four players in double
figures. Hazell was efficient, hitting 8 of 11 shots and moving one
step closer to becoming the school’s all-time scoring leader.

”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.”

Jeff Robinson recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10
rebounds, while Herb Pope added 13 points and six rebounds and
Jordan Theodore chipped in 10 points.

Aaron Osgood led the Big Red in scoring with 19 points, although
he had a tough game at the foul line where he shot 8 of 16. No
other Cornell player reached double figures as the Big Red shot
just 36.1 percent from the floor (22 of 61) and hit only 5 of 24
3-point attempts.

Anthony Gaitlin and Josh Figini each contributed eight points
for Cornell.

Seton Hall put the game away early, using a 26-7 run midway
through the first half to create the cushion it needed. Leading
13-8, the Pirates scored 14 unanswered points to create some
distance between the two teams.

”Just to go out there and get them out of there early, it was
really fun,” Theodore said.

He was the key for the Pirates as they blew the game open. He
controlled the offense, driving to the basket to draw defenders and
finding open teammates. After a tough season-opening loss to Temple
on Friday night, he made it a point of emphasis to distribute the
ball and run the offense better.

”I thought Jordan really watched the film and studied it to
realize what his responsibility is with this team,” Willard said.
”If he can facilitate offense like that all year, we’ll be pretty
good.”

Besides his 10 points, Theodore grabbed seven rebounds and
distributed seven assists.

”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.”

Cornell would scratch its way back, cutting the deficit to 52-38
early in the second half, but that was as close as the Big Red
would come. Seton Hall responded with a 10-2 run to put the game
away.

Cornell played without Chris Wroblewski, the only returning
starter from last year’s Sweet 16 team. He missed the game with an
ankle sprain.

”It’s like Linus without his blanket,” said Cornell coach Bill
Courtney.

The win was the first at Seton Hall for Willard, who took over
the job in April. He was happy to get his first win out of the way
after having a long wait when he coached at Iona.

”It took me seven games last time so it’s pretty good,”
Willard said.