NEWARK, N.J. - An undermanned Seton Hall men's basketball team took a lead into halftime against Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, but ultimately came up short, falling 78-67.
Sophomore guard Aaron Cosby (Louisville, Ky.) returned to the lineup for Seton Hall (13-11, 2-9) and delivered a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting to lead all scorers. Fighting an ankle injury, junior Fuquan Edwin (Paterson, N.J.) followed up a 23-point, five-steal effort at Pitt with 19 points, five steals and four rebounds.
With Seton Hall missing Brandon Mobley and Brian Oliver due to injury, Cosby and Edwin shouldered the offensive load for the Pirates, accounting for 10 of the team's 15 first half field goals. Cosby's first bucket of the game was a three that gave SHU an early 5-2 lead, but UConn reeled off 11 straight points to open a 13-5 advantage just over five minutes into the game. Cosby scored the next seven points for The Hall to keep the home team within striking distance going into the third media timeout of the period.
After the break, Edwin ignited an extended Seton Hall run as he scored the game's next 10 points to cut the deficit to three at 25-22 with 5:12 remaining before halftime. A put-back from freshman Kevin Johnson (Compton, Calif.) and an acrobatic finish in transition from Haralds Karlis (Riga, Latvia) preceded an old-fashioned scoop from Edwin that capped a 16-0 run for SHU and gave the Pirates a 28-25 edge. A jumper from Shabazz Napier ended an over five minute scoreless drought for the Huskies, but Seton Hall connected on three of their next four shots to help take a 35-34 advantage into the locker room.
Johnson had another strong game for the Pirates off the bench. The back-up center logged nine points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes.
Despite dressing only nine healthy players the Pirates kept pace in an up-tempo opening period as both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Cosby and Edwin each chipped in 12 points in the half.
Napier opened the second half with a layup that briefly put Connecticut ahead but Cosby and Edwin combined to net the next eight points and give Seton Hall its largest lead of the game at 43-36 with 17:25 on the clock. The Pirates went cold from the field over the next six-plus minutes however, managing just one layup and a free-throw, both by Johnson, over a 15-3 stretch in favor of UConn as Napier nailed a three-pointer to give the visitors a 51-46 lead with 9:46 to play. Eugene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) answered with a layup through contact on the ensuing possession but Napier found DeAndre Daniels for a slam seconds later and The Hall would draw no closer than four points through the final buzzer.
After attempting only three shots in the first-half, Napier scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to lead Connecticut (16-6, 6-4). The junior guard also recorded game-highs of nine assists and six steals while backcourt mate Ryan Boatright finished with 20 points behind 10-for-10 shooting from the charity stripe.
Seton Hall will return to action on Tuesday, February 12 when travel to Piscataway for the first of two installments of the in-state rivalry in 2012-13. Game-time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.