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No. 24 Seton Hall Gets Decisive Win Over Butler, 71-56

No. 24 Seton Hall earned their first Big East win Tuesday night over conference rival Butler, 71-56. The Pirates saw the return of Ike Obiagu, Tyler Powell, and Ryan Conway to the bench, and Obiagu made sure the Bulldogs knew he was back, making an immediate impact.

Coming off two close losses to No. 22 Providence and No. 23 Villanova last week without Obiagu, Powell, Conway, Brandon Weston, Sylwester Granda, and Tyrese Samuel, having even half of that manpower back was huge for head coach Kevin Willard's squad.

The Pirates started slow out the gates, even finding themselves down 14-7 early, but they found their rhythm once sophomore point guard Kadary Richmond and Obiagu took the floor.

Obiagu led Seton Hall's offensive charge in the first half, leading the team in points after 20 minutes with 8, along with 2 blocks on the defensive end. Meanwhile, Richmond had 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, a complete effort from the 6'6" guard. The combined effort of Obiagu and Richmond propelled the Pirates to a 34-26 halftime lead.

In the final 20 minutes, the typical faces took over. Senior Jared Rhoden opened the second half with two straight threes, finishing the game with a team-high 17 points to add to his 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

Graduate point guard Bryce Aiken took the role of floor general, dropping 12 points, dishing 7 assists, and stealing the ball twice.

Graduate forward Alexis Yetna also stepped up, securing his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

With six different players having 8 or more points, Willard's squad was finally able to use their most lethal weapon again: their depth.

The return of Obiagu is immeasurable for the Pirates, taking the pressure off of Yetna, who fouled out with five minutes remaining against Villanova on Saturday. The Pirates' inside attack was much more aggressive and complete on both ends, even without Samuel who is hopeful to return on Saturday against UCONN.

Thanks to the flip in the teams' interior play, the Hall was able to outrebound the Bulldogs 36-25 on Tuesday-- a drastic change after getting outrebounded 42-28 against Villanova in their last time out.

The Pirates, now 10-3 on the year and 1-2 in conference play, will look to make a statement against the Huskies on Jan. 8 in Newark, a team that was ranked earlier in the season and received 39 votes in the most recent AP Poll.

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