Seton Hall defeats South Florida in overtime in opening round of Big East Championship
The men’s basketball team completed a comeback in the opening round of the Big East Championship Tuesday night, defeating the University of South Florida Bulls in overtime, 46-42.
The Pirates found themselves in trouble late in the second half, down eight with 3:14 remaining.
Junior swingman Fuquan Edwin scored six of the last eight points in the final 2:04 of the game, including the game-tying layup with 18.6 seconds left.
“I just wanted the ball in my hands and tried to make a play, Edwin said. “And it just worked to my favor.”
On the ensuing USF possession junior center Eugene Teague blocked an attempt from Bulls’ point guard Anthony Collins.
The Bulls had two more chances to win the game, but missed both shots.
“I was just trying to get us a good opportunity to win the game and send it into overtime,” Teague said. “After I got that block, I thought I was going to get the rebound. After he missed, it was just…I’m glad he missed.”
The Pirates struck first in the overtime period, with a 3-point basket from guard Aaron Cosby. Bulls’ forward Victor Rudd answered with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game at 40.
Two free throws from Teague put the Pirates up 42-40, but a tip in by Jawanza Poland tied the game with 1:18 left on the clock.
Edwin scored the last four points of the game to give the Pirates the four-point victory.
“I didn’t want this to be our last game, nor my last game,” Edwin said. “I just tried to step up a little bit.”
Edwin finished the game a game-high 17 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists.
Head coach Kevin Willard said that although the team had a poor offensive night, he was happy with how the team continued to push through.
“Offensively we were struggling a little bit,” Willard said. “I was really proud of how they gave themselves opportunities to win the game.”
Despite coming away with the victory, the game was a poor offensive output from both teams.
The 88 points scored by both teams is the second-lowest score in a game in the tournament’s history. The lowest is 87, set in 2003 with a 46-41 Georgetown win over Villanova.
The Hall’s 46 points is the lowest point total by a winning team in the history of the Big East Championship.
USF dominated the Pirates on the boards, holding a 47-33 advantage. In the first half of action the Bulls pulled down 12 boards on the offensive glass, more than the Pirates had as a team (11).
The Pirates were able to stay in the game with its stingy defensive effort. In the second half, the Pirates held the Bulls without a field goal for a stretch of 9:47. The Bulls shot just 17.9% from the floor in the half and 24.2% for the game.
Ewin said that the team’s defense was a major factor in the end result.
“It was defense the whole game,” Edwin said. “Even though we weren’t scoring, Coach always preaches on ‘Don’t let our offense dictate our defense’…our defense was good.”
Willard echoed his swingman’s statement, and praised the defense Teague played on the final Bulls’ possession.
“I was proud of the big fella (Teague) because he kind of kept us in the game offensively,” Willard said. “He was our one constant where the ball would go in and he’d get it. They did a much better job in the second half of fronting him and making it hard for us to get in.”
Teague finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds, securing his fifth double-double of the season.
After the game, Teague said that despite the ugly offensive game, he is still happy coming out on the winning end.
“A win is a win,” Teague said. “I’m proud that we won, and I’m ready to play Syracuse tomorrow.”
The Pirates will move on the face the No. 5 seeded Syracuse Orange on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at email@example.com. He can be found on Twitter @BrennansBite.