NEWARK — One of the reasons why Herb Pope is one of the best interviews and most stand-up guys in the Big East is that he tells it like it is.
Whether it was deserved or not, the 6-foot-8 Seton Hall senior stood up and accepted full blame for Seton Hall’s 60-51 loss to Louisville Saturday at The Prudential Center, their fourth straight.
“I take full blame,” said Pope, referring to his 4-for-13 from the field and 4-for-8 from the line performance.
Pope missed 3 of 4 foul shots in the final 1:49 after Seton Hall cut a 15- point second-half deficit to five.
“Everybody else did their part,” Pope said. “I’m doing nothing in the back of the press. I’m just back there covering the long ball. Those guys made some great plays.
“I didn’t capitalize, I didn’t help us win the game.”
Seton Hall, which is 1-4 since cracking the Top 25, shot just 27.6 percent from the field. They were 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Pope wants to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his senior season, but at this point he’s realistic.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s all going to start again with a win and then everything from then on out we could look at the tournament but right now we gotta take it one game at time. We’re on a big skid right now.”
After starting the season 15-2 and entering the Top 25, the Pirates are now 15-6, , 4-5 in the Big East.
Their next three games are on the road — at Marquette (7-2), UConn (4-3) and arch-rival Rutgers (4-5).
If the Pirates aren’t careful, their losing streak could stretch to seven games and they could look up and be 4-8 in the league after a 4-1 start.
“We lost four, now we gotta try to get another streak going,” Pope said. “That’s the Big East, that’s the monster of the Big East
“Luckily, around the Big East…a lot of teams lost tonight so we didn’t lose that much of a gap, so hopefully we can get back in the shop and continue to work.”
Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Briscoe, Mike Young and Rashard Figures were among the recruits at the game. The 6-3 Ennis of St. Benedict’s Prep will visit Syracuse Feb. 11, and is planning visits to Louisville and Arizona next month as well. Ennis (16 points, 6 rebounds) and Briscoe ( 5 points, 4 rebounds) played earlier in the day in the Newark Invitational at The Rock in a 66-64 victory over Blair Academy.