Seldom has a player who scored 41 points been so very hot and so very cold all at the same time the way Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell was in the Pirates' 90-84 loss to West Virginia today at Prudential Center.
Hazell hit 10 of the 14 two-point attempts he took, finding one way after another to get his shot no matter how tough the coverage. Yet, he made only four of 19 shots from three-point range. As bad as that was, two of his four makes came in the final 17 seconds of regulation under extreme pressure and sent the game to overtime. The second, with eight seconds to go was from high above the arc, easily beyond NBA three-point range.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had seen it all before, noting that Hazell scored 29 and 30 in his previous two games against the Mountaineers. "Jeremy Hazell, when he sees WestVirginia, licks his chops," Huggins said. "The truth is that we did a pretty good job on him. He was four of 19 from three.
"But I don't know of anyone in our league who can score goals as fast as Jeremy Hazell can. That last shot when he tied the game, nobody else in our league is making that shot. Nobody."
Asked if Hazell was on the verge of shooting Seton Hall out of the game befoire he hit the last two threes in regulation, Huggins said, "If you watch tape of the guy, I mean, he missed a whole bunch of shots against Cornell, and then all of a sudden, he goes crazy. He's pretty good."
Hazell had five of Seton Hall's seven overtime points, but he missed all three thre-pointers he launched. He was unfazed, though. "I'm a shooter," he explained. "I think every shot's going in. Shooters shoot."
As for his 33.3 average against the Mountaineers, the Harlem native had an explanation. "I like playing against those guys because they're all from the Metro area," Hazell said, referring to six Mountaineers from New York or New Jersey. "I know them, so, I come out and try to play strong against them every game."
As great as Hazell was to watch, the Mountaineers were far more efficient. Top three scorers Devin Ebanks (22), Da'Sean Butler (21) and Kevin Jones (19) shot a combined 20 of 37 from the field, including five of 12 from three-point range. Although Ebanks was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, he probably had the most impressive state line of the game with 22 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, one block and zero turnovers in 45 minutes.
"Not that I want to push him out the door," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said of the West Virginia sophomore, "but I understand why 16 pro scouts were here to see him."