On the back of 17 points from senior Jared Rhoden and a deep, clutch three-pointer from graduate senior Jamir Harris, the Pirates downed the Georgetown Hoyas in a nailbiting, 57-53 victory.
Coming into Wednesday's late-night matchup, the Pirates were riding the curtails of a five-game win streak and were winners in eight of their last ten. One of the hottest teams in the country facing off with a Hoya squad that had lost 20 consecutive games made for what would at first seem to be a fairly lopsided bout.
In the first half however, Georgetown seemed to grab all the momentum. Seton Hall established a quick 4-0 lead at the outset that disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.
An anemic Pirate offense could not generate anything with the ball. Their defense, although solid, could not singlehandedly propel the Pirates. The Hoya lead swelled to as large as ten with four minutes until halftime.
The Pirates turned it up in the first half’s closing minutes though, and thanks to 10 points from Myles Cale, 9 from Kadary Richmond, and 5 from Jared Rhoden, the only three Pirates to score in the opening 20, the deficit was just three as both sides went to the locker rooms.
Seton Hall had not earned a 27-24 game at halftime, but with Georgetown playing just as sloppy, their rebounding and shooting deficiencies did not come back to bite as hard as they probably should have.
A vicious Rhoden poster dunk kicked off the half the right way for the Pirates and graduate senior Alexis Yetna followed it up with a jumper that gave Seton Hall their first lead since 4-0.
The game teetered back-and-forth for the rest of the second half until Harris hit a clutch, near-logo three pointer with 40 seconds left to give the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish.
“It feels amazing, just to be able to knock down that shot for my teammates and my brothers, there’s no better feeling than that,” the New Jersey native said of his massive shot in crunch-time. “Hearing the crowd go crazy for us and be so excited for me to hit that shot, it means to world for me that I was able to make a big shot for our team.”
Rhoden and Cale also decided they were not going to lose the game, as the former finished with 17 points and the graduate senior ended up with 14.
Richmond, despite his solid first half, only ended up playing 17 minutes due to reaggravating his thumb sprain that he suffered in the Pirates’ season finale against Creighton.
“Kadary is doing okay. He gutted it out,” said head coach Kevin Willard of his starting point guard. “It’s like when you sprain your ankle. It’s kind of like when you redo it, it hurts. And so I took him out. He had given us a lot for what he’s been going through. I didn’t want him to not be able to play tomorrow and definitely not next week.”
After the thrilling win that capped off a great first night of the Big East Tournament, the Pirates once again have the night cap as they take on No. 3 seeded UCONN at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday in the tournament’s quarterfinal.