NEWARK – Don’t let the bubble burst. Plain and simple.
Win, and keep the NCAA Tournament destiny in their control. Lose, and the bubble is on the verge of popping.
“I just didn’t want to come out here and really blow another opportunity, because I’ve been in this position before — being on the bubble,” Jordan Theodore said. “I just want to dance so bad.”
With that mindset, Seton Hall dominated the No. 8 team in the country, defeating Georgetown 73-55. And it was Theodore who led the onslaught.
The senior point guard told stories last week about how he’d dreamt of going to the tournament. With a career-high 29 points, including a perfect 5 of 5 from beyond the arc, Theodore is that much closer to having his dream become reality.
“He played fantastic,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “That’s probably the most complete game a guard has played in the league all year. From points, to assists, to defense, to the leader of the team. He just played fantastic.”
The unquestioned leader looked as if he’d carry his team to the win — although it wasn’t necessary tonight. And that’s not the way Theodore wants to play.
“I don’t want to say I’m going to put a team on my back because that’s not the type of player I am,” Theodore said. “Whatever my team needs me to do, I’m going to do.”
Tonight it was a scoring outburst. And everything that left the 6-footer's right hand, seemed to fall.
“I let the first one go and after that there was no looking back,” Theodore said. “The hoop was just so wide tonight. It was like I was throwing the ball in the crowd. Every shot I threw up I felt it was going in.”
With that, the Pirates have significantly increased their chances of going to the NCAA Tournament.
With lowly DePaul to close out the season, the Hall first has to take care of business at home against their instate rival. And it’s a Rutgers team that will be looking for revenge after losing to the Pirates at home, while also looking to play the role as spoiler.
“Rutgers is a great team,” Herb Pope said. “They’re scrappy, they’re very physical, they’re one of the better defensive teams and they rebound the ball very well from a guard standpoint and you got to tip your hat to Mike Rice. Those guys are doing a great job of playing really hard for all 40 minutes.“
Because of that — along with the NCAA Tournament implications — Pope said there’s absolutely no time to enjoy a win over a top ten team.
After all, dreams are too close to coming true to let the bubble burst.
“My goal going into this season was to dance,” Theodore said. “I knew that I was going to have the ball in my hand and that I was going to be able to score the ball, dish the ball. I knew it was going to come down to me making plays for our team to win, and I’m not surprised at all that we’re right here in position where we want to be. I dream about this and I just want to dance. That’s all I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks — how I just want to dance.”
With a couple of more wins, Theodore will be able to do just that in a couple of more weeks.