Seton Hall defeats Providence in first round
Using a 23-3 run midway through the first half Seton Hall made easy work of the No. 15 seed Providence Friars in the first round of the Big East Championship, winning 79-47, Tuesday night.
“I just think everyone was on the same page tonight,” senior Jordan Theodore said. “We were able to get rebounds. Normally if we don’t rebound we can’t run and get it out on the break.”
The win improves the Hall’s record to 20-11, their first 20 win season since 2003-04.
Theodore set a new Seton Hall Big East Championship record and set a new career high in the win with 13 assists to go along with 13 points.
“I’ve been dishing out assists all season,” Theodore said. “I hold my own record at Seton Hall now, it feels great but I’m not stopping here. I’m trying to get more than 13.”
Four other Pirates score in double figures with senior Herb Pope and Brandon Mobley leading the way with 16 points each and Mobley adding nine rebounds.
Providence was led by freshman LaDontae Henton who had 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Shooting was the biggest difference with the Hall going 28-50 for 56 percent from the field while the Friars only shot 26 percent from the field and 19 percent from beyond the arc.
“Last time we played Providence we didn’t do a great job at keeping (junior Vincent) Council out of the lane,” Theodore said. “He really hurt us when he got everyone else involved. We were able to stop their main guy by making him take jump shots.”
The game started with the Pirates falling behind 9-0 in the first five minutes before sophomore Fuquan Edwin hit a 3-pointer giving the Hall their first points 4:49 into the game.
“I thought we got some good shots,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We didn’t go down, and then we just said everybody relax. We just relaxed and made a couple shots and got back to what we do best, and that’s defending.”
The Friars answered with two points on their next possession but after that the Pirates went on a 23-3 run.
“Trying to get consecutive stops, that’s what we were talking about,” Pope said. “We weren’t worried about our offense. It was going to come and we have great shooters and great player in Jordan Theodore.”
Freshman Aaron Cosby hit a 3-pointer tying the game at 11-11, and less than a minute later sophomore Patrik Auda converted an old-fashion three point play, to give the Hall the 14-11 advantage, and their first lead of the game.
With the Pirates holding a 16-11 lead, Henton made one of two free for Providence to cut into the Pirates lead but the Pirates would continue their run to 21-12 with a Mobley jumper.
The Hall would continue to expand their lead and with 1:32 remaining in the half with Theodore making both free throws of a one and one to give the Pirates a 15 point lead.
Sophomore Bryce Cotton would come down the court and make a 3-pointer for Providence, cutting into the lead and would add one free throw with 27 second left, but a Theodore layup would help the Hall hold a 36-23 halftime lead.
The second half started with Providence getting a 3-pointer from sophomore Bryce Cotton on their opening possession cutting the Hall’s lead to 10. Both teams traded baskets to 40-30 when senior Herb Pope got a pass from senior Jordan Theodore under the basket starting a 10-0 run. During that run the Hall got three steals leading to two transition baskets.
The Pirates took a 24 point lead on a Theodore layup with 12:45 remaining. The lead would continue to grow with Pope getting an open dunk to make it a 28 point game and it would grow to 32 with Mobley making a 3-pointer. With 28 seconds to go, freshman Haralds Karlis hit a 3-pointer giving the Pirates their biggest lead at 35 points.
The Pirates will play Louisville in the second round of the Big East Championship Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org