NEWARK, N.J. - A spirited comeback effort from the Seton Hall men's basketball team fell short as the Pirates fell to #24 Cincinnati, 65-59, on Saturday.
Seton Hall (13-9, 2-7) trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half, and twice pulled to within four, but couldn't close the final gap.
The offense on both ends was late to arrive after the early tip-off as the teams opened the game a combined 3-for-14 from the field heading into the first media timeout. Fresh off the bench following the stoppage, sophomore Aaron Cosby (Louisville, Ky.) found his classmate Mobley for a jumper and converted a fastbreak layup in a 10-second span to put SHU ahead, 8-5. The Pirates traded blows with UC for much of the rest of a physical first half that featured several old-fashioned three-point plays on both ends. A Cashmere Wright layup and free-throw gave the Bearcats their first advantage in over nine minutes of action, but Mobley answered soon after with a hoop plus the harm to knot the score at 26-26 with 2:25 before the break.
Cincinnati scored seven of the next nine points, including the final five of the period to take a 33-28 edge into halftime.
The Bearcats went on to hit four of their first five shots in the second half, recording the first 15 points of the period to build a 48-28 lead five minutes into the half. With 14:47 remaining Edwin connected from behind the arc to end the run, followed by the third timeout of the half from Kevin Willard. The Pirates received the message from their third-year head coach, stifling Cincinnati over an eight-minute stretch that saw SHU outscore the 24th-ranked visitors 20-4, to pull within four at 52-48.
As the Seton Hall offensive charge stalled, UC still struggled to find the basket but remained ahead on the strength of accurate foul shooting. A three-pointer from Mobley cut the deficit back to four at 56-52 with 3:18 to play but the Pirates would draw no closer. Sean Kilpatrick found the mark on a trey from the left corner with 1:50 on the clock, breaking a nearly 10-minute spell without a field goal for Cincinnati and giving UC a seven-point edge they would see through the final buzzer.
The Bearcats were a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minutes to seal the victory.
Kilpatrick led all scorers with 21 points as Cincinnati (18-4, 6-3) picked up its fifth win in the last six games.
On the day, Seton Hall outscored UC 28-12 in the paint thanks in part to 11 points from Gene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) who acted in a reserve role. Behind Mobley and Teague, the Pirates' bench topped the 30-point mark for the third time this year, contributing a season-high 37 points.
Seton Hall will return to action on Monday, February 4 when they travel to Pittsburgh for the final BIG EAST regular season game between the teams. Game-time is scheduled for 9:00 p.m.