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No. 24 Seton Hall’s Richmond, Aiken dominate in win over UConn, 90-87

No. 24 Seton Hall hosted the UConn Huskies Saturday afternoon in an exciting overtime win for the Pirates, 90-87. Tyrese Samuel returned to the bench for the first time since December 12th when the team faced off against Rutgers. Alexis Yetna was expected to play, but was hit in the head with a pass in practice and sat for precautionary reasons.

After their much-needed win against Butler, Seton Hall was slated with one of the best defenses in the Big East in UConn, who came off of a 17-day pause due to COVID-19 implications. What was expected to be a defensive showcase, though, turned into an offensive shootout and an instant classic. Tray Jackson stole the show in his fourth consecutive start as he scored eight of the Pirates’ first 11 to keep them in the game with 15:28 remaining in the first half. Seton Hall saw themselves fall behind, and UConn led 23-19 at the halfway point. Both sides were shooting a blistering 67% up to this point.

Seton Hall struggled to find their way against the Huskies’ defense with seven turnovers early on. Trailing by 8, Aiken found Samuel inside for a dunk that was followed by a Jared Rhoden three-pointer to cut the lead, 36-33.

Jackson led the Pirates in the first half with 10 points. Rhoden added 9 points, while Samuel posted 7 points and 6 rebounds in his return. Aiken’s 5 assists, most of which came down the stretch, were vital to Seton Hall’s stake in this game. He had 5 points, too, and Seton Hall trailed 41-37 at the break.

This game quickly became the Kadary Richmond show in the second half. The Pirates, down 9 with 16 minutes remaining, brought Richmond in and he went on a tear. Over the next four minutes, he outscored UConn 17-7 that was capped off with a three-pointer to retake the lead for Seton Hall, 62-61.

For the next 12 minutes, the game remained within one score. Kadary Richmond continued his dominance to keep Seton Hall afloat. With 8.3 seconds remaining in the game, Richmond passed off to Bryce Aiken for a potential game-winner, but it fell short and forced the game into overtime, 77-77.

Rhoden made a tough layup to begin overtime and Aiken scored four of his own to give the Hall an 84-80 advantage with 2:19 left. A 7-2 run by UConn gave a one-point lead with just 45 seconds remaining after Adama Sonogo’s post jumper. Richmond took it inside and powered in a huge layup to retake the lead. Jared Rhoden came up with a huge steal on the other end to help Seton Hall seal the win.

Seton Hall, despite struggling early, won the turnover battle 19-to-12 and scored 26 points off of them. Yetna’s absence and Samuel’s limited play led to a 40-to-25 rebounding advantage in favor of the Huskies. Four players notched double figures, led by Richmond’s 27 points on 10-13 from the field and Aiken’s 22 points and 7 assists. Tray Jackson had 10 points himself. Ike Obiagu swatted 6 shots on the afternoon.

Rhoden added 15 points and achieved the 1000 career points milestone, while Myles Cale broke the record for most games played in a Seton Hall uniform with his 136th game on Saturday.

The Pirates, now 2-2 in conference play and 12-3 overall, will head to Chicago to begin a two-game road trip against DePaul on Thursday, January 13th at 5:00 P.M.

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