SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Not only did Seton Hall men's basketball have a sold out Prudential Center for the February 28 game against Xavier, but as the wins were adding up in January and February the crowd became louder and louder.
Nowhere was that excitement felt more than in the student section where a group of shellfish were making lots of noise. It created a buzz around Seton Hall's South Orange campus, or should we say, tiny waves. That’s right, it’s the Lobsters. They helped to make Seton Hall games fun again with their enthusiasm and bright red outfits. They even caught the attention of coach Kevin Willard.
“The Lobsters are great,” said Willard. “ They come to every game. Our students have been phenomenal all year. It’s not easy getting on a bus and getting here early and then get on a bus and go back to campus. We have the highest attendance from our students and the team appreciates that tremendously.”
It was this February 28 game when the Seton Hall Pirates defeated Xavier, the number 5-ranked team in the country, 90-81 that sealed Seton Hall's first entry into the NCAA tournament since 2006.
Seton Hall finished the regular season 22-8 overall, 12-6 in the Big East. Under Coach Kevin Willard the team had one of its best regular season’s in the history of the program. It’s only the third time in program history that Seton Hall won 12 or more games in the conference, joining the 1992 and 1993 squads.
Seton Hall also made a new program record with six Big East road wins. Coach Willardand his staff did an outstanding job of developing the players from their freshman year to their sophomore year. Sophomore Isaiah Whitehead was a unanimous selection to the All –Big East first team, while fellow sophomore Angel Delgado was named All-Big East honorable mention. Willard’s coaching job did not go unnoticed.
“I think that Kevin and his staff have been playing at such high level,” said Butler head coach Chris Holtman. “They play so well together and they’re so hard to guard and you can tell that they really, really like each other.
When the Pirates square off in the NCAA tournament next week, you can be sure the Lobsters will be there cheering.
In addition to being a contributor to TAP into SOMA, Mike Cohen is the Founder/Director of Throwback Sports and the Sports Editor for Education Update. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.