NEWARK, N.J. - Junior Fuquan Edwin (Paterson, N.J.) connected on a go-ahead three-pointer with just under nine seconds remaining to give the Seton Hall men's basketball team a thrilling 66-65 victory over Villanova, on Monday.
The win snaps a nine-game losing streak for the Pirates and a 10-game skid against the Wildcats.
Sophomore Aaron Cosby (Louisville, Ky.) scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and added a career-high six assists to help SHU end the prolonged slide. Edwin chipped in 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds while Kyle Smyth (River Edge, N.J.) was the high three-point man on the night, totaling 12 points on four makes from downtown.
SHU dialed long distance early and often, jumping out to an early advantage behind hot outside shooting. The Pirates' first seven field goals came from behind the arc, including a perfect 4-for-4 start from downtown from Smyth. Edwin and Smyth combined to knock down the first three attempts of the game, helping The Hall grab control early. After a period of over five minutes without a field goal, Edwin buried a triple from right in front of the visiting bench followed by two more long-range connections from Smyth on the next two possessions, putting Seton Hall on top, 20-14, with 8:48 to go before the break.
The Pirates struggled to maintain a rhythm on the offensive end and over the next four minutes, the Wildcats put together 10 unanswered points before Cosby stopped the run with two free throws that pulled SHU back to within two at 24-22. Off a Villanova turnover on the next possession, Brian Oliver (Glassboro, N.J.) stepped out and nailed the Pirates' seventh trey of the period to put The Hall back in front. The Wildcats briefly retook the lead before Gene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) connected on a turnaround in the lane, giving SHU a 27-26 lead on its first two-point field goal of the game with just under three minutes before halftime. Oliver added one more three before the intermission and the teams finished the first 20 minutes knotted at 32-32.
Seton Hall shot a blistering 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from three-point range in the first period, exceeding their previous season-high of seven makes in a half, a feat the Pirates had previously repeated seven times in 2012-13. Conversely, the Wildcats made just 2-of-11 attempts from behind the line but were boosted by 8-for-12 shooting from inside the arc and converted on all but one of their 11 attempts from the charity stripe.
The break did little to assuage the Pirates' proficiency from deep, as a sharpshooting Cosby joined the act soon after action resumed. Despite not making a field goal in the first half, Cosby exploded for 11 of SHU's first 13 points in the period, including three consecutive connections from downtown. With Villanova ahead 45-43, Cosby corralled his own missed jumper and attacked the right side of the rim for a layup that tied the game for the ninth time with 13:40 to play.
The teams combined for just nine points over the next five-plus minutes but behind a Cosby layup followed by an Oliver trifecta in quick succession, Seton Hall reclaimed the lead, 53-51, with 7:27 on the clock. The Wildcats scored the next seven points, punctuated by an old-fashioned three-point play from 'Nova's JayVaughn Pinkston that sent Teague to the bench with five fouls at the 5:33 mark.
The Pirates responded with six of the next of the next eight points, but on a night where the Pirates were powered by a three-point barrage of their own, a trey by VU guard Darrun Hilliard appeared to swing the game in favor of the visitors, giving the Wildcats a 63-59 edge with just 82 seconds left.
Oliver sank two free-throws to halve the deficit, but Villanova senior Mouphtaou Yarou buried a pull-up baseline jumper under duress to push the 'Nova lead back to four with 28 ticks remaining.
Only 10 seconds elapsed before Edwin drew a foul and calmly sank two freebies to make it a one possession game once again. On the trap off the inbound, VU's James Bell attempted to split the double team, but was stripped from behind by freshman Tom Maayan (Galil, Israel). Maayan came up with the loose ball and found Edwin spotted up in the left corner and the Prudential Center crowd erupted as the junior gathered and nailed his third triple to put The Hall ahead 66-65 with nine seconds to go.
Following a Villanova timeout, Maayan forced VU freshman standout Ryan Arcidiacono into a contested jumper from deep in the corner that came up short at the buzzer.
The two teams combined for 37 giveaways in a helter-skelter affair but SHU emerged with a 29-to-23 edge in points off turnovers.
Oliver was the only non-starter to score for either team and finished with 11 points on three made treys.
Villanova (18-11, 9-7) shot just 40 percent (18-for-45) from the field but set season-highs for an SHU opponent with 25 made free-throws on 27 attempts. Arcidiacono led four Wildcats in double-figures, recording team-highs of 16 points and four assists. Yarou finished with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Seton Hall will now enters its second bye of the season and won't play again until Tuesday, March 5 at Providence. Game-time is scheduled for 9:00 p.m.