Pirates force OT, but lose to Butler at home
Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
Lack of offensive rhythm and an inability to dominate the boards proved costly for the Pirates on Tuesday, Jan. 13 dropping their first home contest of the season, 79-75 to the Butler Bulldogs.
As far as offensive presence goes, well—there was none besides junior Sterling Gibbs and freshman Khadeen Carrington, who finished with 30 points and 20 points, respectively.
Senior forward Brandon Mobley shot 1-15 from the floor and finished with just six points. Sophomore guard Jaren Sina was held scoreless.
“We just came out (of the second half) a little sluggish,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We’re getting tired of relying on Sterling all the time. We can’t get stuck with him doing it all.”
The Pirates did exactly that Tuesday night, and Gibbs delivered, as he has for the most part of this season.
Trailing for most of the second half, the Pirates made things interesting in the final five minutes, forcing overtime behind Gibbs.
In overtime, Gibbs, who battled foul trouble for most of that second half, fouled out. It was at that point that Butler pulled away for good.
“I think we came out a little flat in the first half,” Gibbs said. “We came in with the lead (after halftime) but it wasn’t one of those secure leads we felt great about. They took advantage of that and we found ourselves trying to claw back into it. Once we finally did tie up the game and went into overtime they really took advantage of the fact that we had to come back and use so much energy.”
One thing the Pirates have succeeded at this season has been consistent play in the post and on the boards.
Another double-double from freshman Angel Delgado (12 points and 15 rebounds) helped the Pirates down low, but it was not enough to power the Pirates to victory.
In fact, Butler out-rebounded the Pirates 45-37, including 18 offensive rebounds.
“Their size really has done us in, especially here (Prudential Center),” Willard said. “They got some big rebounds, their size has kind of bothered us.”
Outside of last year’s Big East Tournament, the Pirates have now lost three straight regular season matchups with Butler. They will get another crack at Chris Holtmann’s group at the end of January.
Holtmann had high praise for Seton Hall following his team’s win.
“Seton Hall is really good,” Holtmann said. “They’re clearly deserving of their top-25 ranking. Gibbs is an outstanding player.”
Those Pirates will almost certainly lose that ranking with this loss to Butler. The team will have an unusually long break until their next action. They return to the court on Thursday, Jan. 22 when they will face DePaul at the Prudential Center at 7 p.m.
“I think it’s more good than bad,” Gibbs said. “I know I feel crazy right now, we’ve been playing non-stop.”
David Heim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @davidheim12.