March 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – In their second NIT appearance in three years, the Seton Hall Pirates defeated the Stony Brook Sea Wolves 63-61 on Tuesday night at Walsh Gymnasium.
Seniors Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope led the way for the Hall, scoring 41 of the 63 points. Theodore led all scorers with 21 points, while Pope added 20 points.
Despite leading by 10 points in the first half, the Pirates gave way to the Sea Wolves, who had a chance to win the game on a three-point field goal at the end of regulation, but New Jersey native Bryan Dougher’s shot missed wide.
Forward Tommy Brenton’s last-second tip-in chance rolled off the front of the rim, which gave Seton Hall their first NIT win since 1956.
“We knew he was getting the ball,” Theodore said. “I think the game plan was to fight over the screen and contest the shot. Aaron (Cosby) did a great job at doing that.”
Stony Brook had the lead in the second half after recovering from a 10-point deficit.
Forward Dallis Joyner converted on a layup with 16:03 remaining to give the Sea Wolves the39-36 lead.
"I don’t think we had the edge on them at all,” Theodore said. “We just came out with a lot of energy, we (were) moving our hands, we were getting the 50-50 balls, doing the little things that get you the win.”
The Pirates responded when Theodore hit a step back jumper then stole the ball from forward Tommy Brenton and converted on a fast-break layup to take a one-point lead with 15 minutes to play.
The Pirates never trailed again.
With the scored tied at 46 with 10 minutes to play, Theodore led the Pirates on a 7-0 run to recapture the lead. Sophomore Patrik Auda made a layup and freshman Brandon Mobley nailed a 3-pointer.
The Hall kept a two-possession lead until there were two minutes remaining on the clock. After Pope extended the Pirates’ lead to six on a layup, Stony Brook held the Hall scoreless, while pulling down six rebounds to set up Dougher’s last-second 3-point attempt.
“They destroyed us on rebounding,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “That was a worry from the start because they are an older, veteran team that plays extremely hard. I thought we did an extremely good job defensively on them.”
Stony Brook out rebounded the Pirates 44 to 23, including 19 offensive boards for the Sea Wolves.
“You just have to give them a lot of credit for being scrappy and playing hard,” Willard said.
The Pirates will host the Massachusetts Minutemen at Walsh Gymnasium on a date and time to be determined.
Massachusetts beat Mississippi State in double overtime on Tuesday to earn the trip to South Orange.
Tim LeCras is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.