A career-high 28 points from Khadeen Carrington was not enough for Seton Hall in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitation at the HP Fieldhouse in Orlando, Fla. on Thanksgiving Night, as the team fell to the Florida Gators, 81-76.
The Pirates (3-1) had a statement victory last Thursday against Iowa where Myles Powell exploded for 26 points in a 91-83 victory, but they could not stay perfect in the non-conference slate. Reserve Canyon Barry dropped 21 points in the victory for Florida (5-0).
The game started off at a fast pace but was filled with fouls. Desi Rodriguez and Florida’s Devin Robinson each picked up two quick fouls. Carrington would hit a few baskets in the paint to give Seton Hall a 10-9 lead with 15:09 to go.
Florida’s stifling defense would turn the game in the Gator’s favor, going on a 9-2 run to grab an 18-12 lead with 11:50 to go. Florida was active both on the perimeter with steals and in the post with blocked shots. A Rodriguez slam off an inbound lob and a Carrington trey closed out the first half to give the Hall a 40-39 lead at the break in a half with seven ties and 11 lead changes.
Carrington scored the first seven points for Seton Hall to open up the second half with a 47-42 lead with 15:46 to go. The game continued its frenetic pace as Florida worked to tie the game and take the lead with strong post defense. Angel Delgado picked up his fourth personal foul with 12:35 to go, and Florida continued to take the momentum from the Pirates, outplaying them in creating a 10-0 run to grab a 52-47 lead.
The Pirates would come crawling back, getting key baskets from Powell and Rodriguez to cut the deficit to 60-59 with under eight minutes to go. Florida continued to halt Seton Hall from getting one key run to take control, as KeVaughn Allen and Barry knocked down consecutive threes to give Florida its largest lead with 5:02 remaining in the second half.
A three-point play from Carrington made it a 73-71 game in favor of the Gators with 1:36 to go. However, a steal and score from Allen would extend the Florida lead to four with 59 seconds to go. Allen had 21 points in the game.
Seton Hall would never get closer than two in a wild final minute to end the game, as the Pirates dropped their first game of the season.
The team will look to get back on track Friday when it takes on Quinnipiac, who lost to Gonzaga in the Invitational, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Matt Lamb can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MattS_Lamb.