Despite a dominant performance from senior Fuquan Edwin, the Seton Hall University men’s basketball team was unable to pull away with a win from the Mercer Bears on Saturday.
The Hall lost in double-overtime 77-74, bringing their record to 2-1. In a 2011 meeting between the two schools, which Seton Hall won 80-77 in overtime. This time, the Pirates were not so lucky.
Seton Hall controlled the game for most of the first half, but only had a one-point lead heading into the second half. Sophomore guard Sterling Gibbs hit a three to open the game and Edwin followed with eight straight points to put Seton Hall up 11-7.
Seton Hall was up 25-13, but Mercer fought back, scoring 14 of the half’s final 17 points. Heading into the locker room, the Pirates were up 28-27.
Redshirt senior center Eugene Teague opened the second half with a putback, but the Bears went on a 5-0 run from there, giving them their first lead in more than 20 minutes of action. The two teams remained deadlocked for the majority of regulation.
With a 1:52 left, Mercer led 56-54. Gibbs evened the game up with two free throws with 39 seconds left. A win seemed certain when Edwin came up with a steal with 11 seconds left in regulation, but the Pirates were twice denied by the Bears, who a had a steal of their own as the second half came to an end.
Langston Hall did all of the scoring for Mercer in the first overtime with nine points. Meanwhile, junior forward Brandon Mobley hit a three to tie the score at 60. Yet, with over a minute to go, Mercer led 64-60.
The Pirates came back again, this time starting with a three from Edwin on an assist from Mobley to make it 64-63. Following that, Hall missed one of two foul shots. With 12 seconds left, Edwin was able to find his way to the basket, evening the game at 65. Mercer got the ball back but was unable to capitalize on a Hall jumper, sending the game into its second overtime.
With 1:38 to go, Seton Hall led 71-69, but it was not enough to hold Mercer back. With 16 seconds left on the clock, the Bears were up 76-73. Redshirt senior Brian Oliver missed a three which led to a foul on Teague following an offensive rebound. Teague took a trip to the line but missed one shot. Mercer went on to win 77-74.
Despite the nail-biting loss, Edwin had a career-high 35 points in 41 minutes of action. He went 15-25 from the floor and also played a major role on defense, recording five steals.
Gibbs, Mobley and Teague each added nine points. Teague also finished with 12 boards. For Mercer, Hall led the way with 24 points and five assists. Bud Thomas had 17 points and five rebounds.
The Pirates will return to The Prudential Center on Monday when they are set to take on the Monmouth Hawks. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com.