Late comeback lifts Seton Hall over Rhode Island
37 seconds was all the Pirates led tonight but that was all that they needed to pull out a 59-55 win over Rhode Island in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-off. With the Hall down one in the final minute junior Fuquan Edwin made the driving layup to give the Hall their first lead at 56-55.
“It was a big play by Eugene Teague to block out his man so I can have an open layup like that,” Edwin said.
Edwin finished the game with 12 points while Teague led the team with a career high 21 points and nine rebounds, in addition to his unaccounted assist on the winning play, after struggling last night with one point and five rebounds.
“Last night I wasn’t really being patient,” Teague said. “I had no clue how they were going to play me, they were making it hard for me to get the ball. Tonight after I watched the film saw what I was doing and just trying to do work.”
Freshman point guard Tom Maayan also came through in a big way in the final minutes. Maayan dished out an assist to graduate Kyle Smyth for three right before the Edwin basket and also forced a steal while being fouled with 23 seconds remaining. Two free throws later, Maayan had sealed the Pirates’ victory.
“Really it was the pass to Smyth,” Willard said of his freshman’s play in the final seconds. “Running the play, knowing what we were looking for at the time, making the right read and defensively he just played tremendous. He made just one stupid foul but he was a difference maker tonight.”
The game started eerily similar to the one the Pirates played the night before against Washington, a 84-73 overtime loss. Tonight, the Hall found themselves down by eight with 3:52 left, before starting the comeback.
“It just shows a lot of guts to overcome something like this,” Edwin said. “The guys just got after it on defense.”
That defense held the Rams without a field goal from that point on and forced three turnovers in the final three minutes.
“The win is the most important thing,” Willard said. “It doesn’t matter what type of game it was. We knew it was going to be a close game because they do a great job at controlling the tempo and using the shot clock. We just found a way to win.”
The win improves the Pirates record to 3-1 with them returning home to face Maine, Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
“We still young,” Edwin said. “We still have to fix a few things up. We are going to have to go after it tomorrow.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org