Seton Hall gets past Butler, advances to face No. 1 seed Nova
The men’s basketball team narrowly escaped defeat Wednesday in the opening round of the Big East Tournament against Butler, 51-50.
The Pirates led by 15 points midway through the second half but a 9-0 run by Butler cut the lead to just four with 6:19 remaining.
After senior center Eugene Teague converted an and-one opportunity, Butler sophomore Alex Barlow drilled a 3-pointer to bring the lead to four once again with 5:06 left on the clock.
A tip-in from Butler’s Kameron Woods brought the lead to just two points with under five minutes left.
After 2-plus minutes of scoreless basketball, Teague broke the drought with a free throw and then came back with a layup to put the Pirates up 51-46.
Back-to-back baskets from Butler’s Khyle Marshall and Kellen Dunham brought the Bulldogs to within one with less than one minute remaining.
Pirates sophomore Sterling Gibbs missed a 3-pointer and Butler drove the ball down the court, but senior Fuquan Edwin swiped the ball from a driving Dunham on the baseline, showing his skills that earned him the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I seen him driving towards the baseline,” Edwin said of the play. “I tried to read him, and I knew he was running into trouble, two of my guys were right there stepping up on him. And I just anticipated the pass, and I came up with it.”
Butler had a shot to win at the end, but a last-second, half-court heave from Barlow rimmed out at the buzzer.
Teague, who scored The Hall’s last six points was a mismatch for the smaller Bulldogs frontcourt. The 6-foot-9-inch, 270-pound senior recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Teague has been battling the flu since Saturday, according to head coach Kevin Willard.
“I wasn’t even sure he was going to be able to play as bad as he looked yesterday,” Willard said.
Teague said that because this could be his last game, there was no doubt in his mind that he would be playing in this game.
“This was my last go-round,” Teague said. “I wasn’t going to sit it out. I was going to battle through it.”
Edwin, who finished with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals, said that although this could be his last game, he was going to think of it like every other game.
“It was no different,” Edwin said. “I didn’t play like that in my mindset. I just wanted to play hard and give them my all and leave it on the court. I think we all did that.”
Classmate Brian Oliver finished with 10 points and nine rebounds and junior Brandon Moble finished with eight points.
While the Pirates were balanced in scoring, the Bulldogs relied heavily on Marshall, who scored 22 points on 10-15 shooting from the floor.
The Bulldogs struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 2-18 attempts. Barlow shot half of Butler’s 3-point attempts, but only converted on one.
The Hall has a quick turnaround for their next game, as the team will prepare to face No. 1 seed Villanova at noon tomorrow.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at email@example.com.