Down 10 points with 6:47 left, two starters in foul trouble and Kevin Willard being forced to use a six-man rotation in the absence of Ismael Sanogo, the Pirates had every chance to fold on Saturday.
They didn’t, though.
Led by some clutch shots from Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell down the stretch, Seton Hall went on the road and knocked off No. 13 Butler by a final score of 70-64 to solidify its NCAA Tournament status. The Pirates also secured their second 20-win season in a row.
Things got off to a promising start when the Pirates jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Butler quickly cut it back down to four at the under-16 timeout.
From that point on, the Bulldogs got things rolling. Led by Kelan Martin’s instant offensive spark off the bench, Butler was able to tie it at 14 at the under-12 timeout. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 21-14 behind a 14-0 run that featured seven of the 14 points coming from Martin.
A Desi Rodriguez and-one halted the Butler run and the Pirates were able to hang around thanks to 15 first-half points from Rodriguez and nine from Angel Delgado, but still trailed 38-35 at the half.
Butler remained in control at the beginning of the second half and held its largest lead of the afternoon, 57-47, with a little under seven minutes remaining in regulation.
Then, Carrington and Powell both flipped the switch.
After not bringing much to the table in the first half, the two guards came alive when the Pirates needed them the most, hitting shot after shot to get Seton Hall back in the game. It was Powell who hit a clutch three to tie things up at 59 and Carrington who hit a tough mid-range jumper to even it up at 61.
After Martin hit a corner three to give Butler the lead back, Carrington answered with another tough shot of his own to put Seton Hall back in front for good.
Another three from Powell made it 68-64 with 35.1 seconds left and the Pirates took care of business at the charity stripe to hang on for the upset.
— Seton Hall MBB (@SetonHallMBB) March 4, 2017
BIG WIN for the Pirates!
Seton Hall knocks off No. 13 Butler, 70-64 picking up a late signature win. pic.twitter.com/kcq4YUdRn6
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 4, 2017
Delgado finished the day with his 12th straight double-double, adding 20 points and 16 boards to his four assists. Rodriguez notched 21 points of his own while Carrington added another 17 despite a rough first half. Martin led the way for Butler with 19.
With the win, Seton Hall will set its sights on the Big East Tournament, where they will take on Marquette in the 4-5 game of the conference quarterfinals on Thursday, March 9 at 2:30 pm.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.