The Seton Hall men’s basketball team (6-2) beat the California Golden Bears (7-1), 60-57, on Wednesday night to conclude each team’s Pearl Harbor Invitational trip.
From the very beginning, it was a back-and-forth affair, as the teams had six ties and five lead changes in the first half alone. This trend continued for the duration of the game.
The two teams got off to a hot start shooting. Seton Hall and Cal were shooting above 60 percent for the majority of the first half.
The scoring slowed down a bit when Seton Hall had the slight 27-25 lead at the under-eight minute timeout. A few minutes later it was tied once again at 29. The score at the half was 34-31 in favor of California and set up for an exciting second half.
One thing hurting both teams in the first half was their free throws. The teams were a combined 5-14 from the line in the first half. However, the struggle continued more so for the Pirates in the second half. Despite the struggles, the back and forth game continued to be close the rest of the way.
California began the half strong, taking a 40-34 lead. However, aggressive defense and a put-back dunk for Michael Nzei tied it back up at 40. Seton Hall attempted to inch away in the latter part of the second half, but a few costly turnovers and more missed free throws halted the Pirates’ ability to pull away.
An exciting part of the game was when Desi Rodriguez threw down a monstrous dunk to go up seven, which was followed by a California alley-oop to electrify the gym as Seton Hall held a five-point lead.
Cal used that dunk to go on a six-point run to make it a one-point game. Seton Hall’s defense picked up in the last minute as California was forced to foul the Pirates.
After Khadeen Carrington went 1-2 from the line, Seton Hall was up three with 2.7 seconds remaining. Jabari Bird of California missed a shot off the backboard from half court and Seton Hall sealed the win to advance to 7-2 on the year.
Delgado recorded his third straight double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Rodriguez had 15 and Carrington added another 14 of his own. Seton Hall shot a total 46.2 percent from the field.
For California, it was Bird with 23 points and nine assists who led the way.
Seton Hall takes on No. 19 South Carolina next at the Under Armor Reunion Games at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Dec. 12.
Keith Egan can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.