UNCASVILLE, CONN. - Junior Gene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) scored a career-high 21 points as the Seton Hall men's basketball team overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat Rhode Island in the consolation game of the 2012 Hall of Fame Tip-Off, 60-55, Sunday.
Teague netted his points on an efficient 7-for-11 from the field and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line. The hulking forward also led the Pirates with nine rebounds.
Seton Hall (3-1) used a 16-3 game-ending run to grab their first lead of the game late and leave Mohegan Sun Arena with a victory. It's the second straight day the Pirates overcame a double-digit deficit, but this time, the team came out on the winning side.
The game featured a familiar face for Pirates' fans as Rhode Island's new head coach is former Seton Hall 1,000-point scorer, Danny Hurley. The former Pirates' point guard played for Seton Hall from 1991-96 and was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams.
For the second straight night, the Seton Hall offense started slowly. A three-pointer by Mike Powell gave Rhode Island an early 10-5 lead. The only Pirate who was consistently supplying offense early was Teague, who scored seven of the team's first 10 points.
Seton Hall battled back to tie the score at 14 on a jumper by Aaron Cosby (Louisville, Ky.), but the Rams responded with a 13-0 run to take a commanding 27-14 lead with 5:53 remaining in the first half.
The Pirates scored five straight points capped by a three-pointer from Brian Oliver (Glassboro, N.J.) to cut the Rams lead to eight, 27-19. That lead was extended to nine, 32-23, as the teams entered the locker rooms at the half.
Seton Hall shot 39.1% from the floor in the first half, compared to 48.1% for Rhode Island, which was paced by Mike Powell's 4-for-4 from three-point range.
Back-to-back buckets by Edwin and Teague cut URI's lead to just five, 34-29, with 17:28 remaining in regulation, but Xavier Munford responded by draining a three-pointer to boost the Rams lead back up to eight.
A pair of free-throws by Edwin cut the Rams' lead to three, but Mike Powell completed a four-point play with the shot clock winding down and followed it up with a layup to push the Rhode Island lead back up to nine, 50-41, with 10:37 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Alwayne Bigby gave Rhode Island a 52-44 lead with just 6:10 left. But that's when Seton Hall made its move.
Cosby hit a three-pointer with 3:14 remaining to pull Seton Hall to within five, 54-49. Nearly two minutes later, Kyle Smyth (River Edge, N.J.) connected on his lone three of the game to get the Pirates to within one, 55-54, with 1:29 left to play. After the Pirates' stout defense held, Edwin scored on a driving layup to give Seton Hall its first lead of the game, 56-55, with just 37 seconds remaining. On the ensuing URI possession, freshman Tom Maayan (Galil, Israel) stole the ball, was fouled and calmly sank a pair of three-throws to extend the Pirate lead to three with 18 seconds to go. Under heavy pressure, Munford's attempt to tie the game missed the mark. Edwin grabbed the rebound, was fouled and iced the game at the line.
A major strength for the Pirates this season has been their shooting from behind the three-point arc. Entering today, Seton Hall had averaged 10 made three-pointers per game, but finished only 4-for-15 vs. Rhode Island. Fortunately, for the Pirates, two of those three's came in the game's final 3:12.
Mike Powell led URI with 19 points and was 5-for-6 from three-point range.
The Pirates will return to action on Wednesday, November 21 when they take on Maine at the Prudential Center. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 973-275-HALL.