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Photo via Seton Hall Athletics

Men’s basketball holds on to Garden State Hardwood Classic title in 45-43 win over Rutgers

Seton Hall kept the Garden State Hardwood Classic trophy in South Orange after defeating Rutgers at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Sunday.

Al-Amir Dawes gave the Pirates their first lead of the game at the 18:56 mark of the first half with an easy three-pointer. Jamir Harris followed with a three of his own after Rutgers responded with five straight points.

Dre Davis sparked a 7-0 run in his return to the court after he joined the three party and connected from deep. The run ended as KC Ndefo made a layup with 6:16 remaining before the break and gave The Hall a 19-12 lead. The Scarlet Knights gained traction, though, and a 10-0 run ensued. 

Rutgers took a 26-22 advantage into the intermission. Harris led the way for the Pirates with six points in the first 20 minutes. Dawes wasn’t far behind with five points of his own, and Ndefo added four points for the half.

The Scarlet Knights’ Aundre Hyatt knocked down a triple to bring their lead back to seven and forced a timeout from Coach Holloway. Out of the timeout, Seton Hall went on an 8-0 run to retake the lead, 34-33.

Five ties and four lead changes occurred over the final 9 minutes of play. Rutgers tied the game at 43 with just 2:18 remaining, though Ndefo made a layup to take a two-point lead. The Pirates’ pressing defense sealed the victory as they walked away with a 45-43 win.

Ndefo earned the Joe Calabrese MVP trophy with nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Davis led the team in scoring with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Dawes added eight points and three rebounds.

The Hall improves to 6-4 on the season in the win over cross-state rival Rutgers. The Pirates return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 14 as they take on Drexel in the Prudential Center at 7 p.m. 

Thomas Donnelly can be reached at Find him on Twitter @_tommyd023.

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