NEW YORK, NY – Seton Hall’s magical run towards a Big East Championship came to a crashing halt on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
One day after stunning top-seeded Villanova on a Sterling Gibbs jumper, the Pirates were dropped by Providence College, 80-74, ending their 2013-14 campaign.
“We just have to give credit when credit is due,” senior guard Fuquan Edwin said. “Providence played a great game; had a good game. They hit some tough shots.”
Playing in their third game in as many nights, Seton Hall came out of the tip-off strong, scoring five quick points before the Friars could even blink.
The Pirates led a scoring-heavy opening five minutes on the backs of senior big man Eugene Teague and red-shirt junior Patrik Auda, who each had four early points.
Once the Hall went up 12-11, Providence forward LaDontae Henton awoke and took over the game. The senior scored nine straight Friar points to give Providence their first lead of the game and sent Providence on a 12-0 run en route to their largest lead of the game, 25-14 with 11:24 to play in the half.
“LaDontae was a man child today, an absolute man child today,” Providence head coach Ed Cooley said of his first PC recruit. “He’s had back-to-back games, and I always think he’s one of the more underappreciated guys on our team. He’s just been a rock.”
Seton Hall managed to keep the game within reach in the first half and even went on a 7-3 run in the final minute, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the hands of senior Brian Oliver to cut Providence’s lead to four at the break.
The game stayed within a few possessions during the early parts of the second half until Seton Hall red-shirt sophomore Sterling Gibbs hit a left corner three to pull the Pirates within one. However, Seton Hall never got over the hump.
Providence quickly answered with a 10-2 run over two minutes of action to take the Pirates’ momentum right from under them. Tyler Harris scored seven points during the stretch.
Gibbs brought the Hall back within five a couple of minutes later, however Henton showed his angry face again, sinking back-to-back 3-pointers to completely deflate a once confident Seton Hall team. He led all scorers with 26 points.
“Coach [Cooley] just made a point of emphasis of playing real hard, coming out with effort,” Henton said. “That’s what we tried to do the first two games.”
In typical Seton Hall fashion, the Pirates made the game interesting in the final minute. The Hall scored five points in the final 15 seconds to pull within four. Following an offensive foul on Providence’s Bryce Cotton, Edwin, who led Seton Hall with 20 points, could not convert on a layup that would have brought the Pirates within two points with 3 seconds left on the clock, effectively ending Seton Hall’s dreams.
“I’m very sad,” Edwin said. “I wish we could have pulled through with the win. It would have been good playing in the championship game. I just want to give credit to our effort. I think we battled hard.”
Seton Hall finished their season an even 17-17.
Editor’s Note: TheAlternativePress.com will have continued post-season coverage of the Seton Hall Pirates beginning on Saturday with a complete wrap-up of the 2013-14 season.