Despite cutting a 17 point deficit to a mere two, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team fell for the second time this season to the Butler Bulldogs, 85-78, on Wednesday night.
The Hall was led by sophomore stud Isaiah Whitehead who, despite a shoulder injury scare in the first half, dropped a career-high 27 points to go along with six boards, three assists and three blocks. Of his 27 points, 22 came in a dominating second half that helped the Pirates close the gap time and time again.
This loss was rooted in Seton Hall’s sluggish first half where the team managed a meager 28 points and allowed the Bulldogs 43. The 15 point deficit was largely due to the tandem of Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin. In those first 20 minutes, Dunham dropped 16 points behind his 4 three pointers. Martin was in complete control the first period, nearly notching a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Things became more balanced in the second half. The Pirates came out firing on all cylinders, going on a 12-point run that paralleled a six minute scoring drought for the Bulldogs. Only down five, Butler came back with a pullup jumper from Tyler Lewis and a driving layup by Roosevelt Jones, who had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in the contest.
Both teams exchanged baskets and free throws for the next nine minutes or so, until the Hall finally reached their smallest deficit of two following a catch and shoot transition three by Whitehead off a pass from Khadeen Carrington. The Pirates fought back each possession to maintain that two point differential, but once Butler reached 77 points, that was the last time the score would be so close.
Another Whitehead three point bomb would bring the Hall within three, but Butler made the most of its trips to the foul line and hung on to defeat the Hall.
Whitehead was not alone in his impressive effort; Carrington (18 PTS, 4 REB) and Desi Rodriguez (12 PTS, 3 AST) helped carry the scoring load, while Ismael Sanogo (9 PTS, 8 REB, 3 STL) brought his usual jack of all trades style of play. Only four points coming from the bench forced a lot of pressure on Seton Hall’s starters, and it did not help that Butler received 15 points from their’s.
Looking to recover from the loss, the Pirates will close out their regular season on Saturday, March 5 when they take on Big East foe DePaul at 12 p.m.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.