Feb. 1, 2014
CINCINNATI - The Seton Hall men's basketball team snapped another BIG EAST opponent's double-digit home win streak Saturday when the Pirates handed Xavier (15-5, 5-3) its first loss at the Cintas Center this season, 68-60. Fuquan Edwin (Paterson, N.J.) led four Pirate double-digit scorers with 18 points to help halt the Musketeers stretch of consecutive victories at 13. Earlier this season, Seton Hall (13-9, 4-5) put to rest Providence's 13-game and Georgetown's 16-game home winning streaks.
The Pirates stingy defense held Xavier to its lowest scoring total at home this season (60), significantly below the Musketeers' conference leading 80.0 scoring average against BIG EAST opponents. The Hall showcased the solid perimeter defense that it has displayed in league road games this season, limiting Xavier to a 14.3% (2-14) shooting mark from 3-point territory.
Edwin and Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.) each had three steals, while The Hall also collected 22 of its 28 rebounds on the defensive glass. The Pirates capitalized on Xavier's 13 turnovers, scoring 21 points off their opponent's mishaps.
Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) and Brandon Mobley (Savannah, Ga.) combined to score 23 of The Hall's 25 bench points. Sina recorded all 12 of his points in the second half, including a stretch where he posted nine in less than three minutes to send the Pirates up by nine points with under four minutes to play. Mobley sank three 3-pointers; he grabbed four rebounds and had one block in the contest. Gibbs was the fourth double-digit scorer posting 10 points.
Seton Hall did not trail by more than three points in the second half and maintained a lead for the final 7:45. Despite having a nine point advantage erased in the first half and trailing by one at halftime, the resilient Pirates traded blows with Xavier in the second stanza as the lead changed sides seven times before The Hall made its game-winning surge.
Semaj Christon gave Xavier its last advantage (51-50) on a layup at the 8:27 mark as the Pirates responded with a 14-4 run powered by Sina's clutch buckets. After Edwin regained a one point lead for the Pirates with a pair of free-throws, Sina ignited a key momentum swing with a rare four-point play. Mobley followed with his third trifecta, and then it was Sina again who knocked down another 3-pointer and sank two free-throws to put the Pirates on top 64-55 with 3:30 to go.
Seton Hall withstood the Musketeer's final push keeping a two possession lead the rest of the way. Gibbs, Mobley and Sina each hit free-throws in the final 90 seconds to secure the victory.
The Hall converted 18-of-22 free-throw attempts (81.8%) while Xavier struggled at the line going just 16-for-28 (57.1%). Sina finished 6-for-7 at the stripe, Gibbs went 4-for-5, Edwin was 3-for-3 and Mobley knocked down both of his free-throws in the last minute.
Christon was the game's high scorer with 21 points to go along with six assists, one more assist than backcourt teammate Dee Davis. Christon and Davis were credited with 10 of Xavier's 13 turnovers. Musketeer big man Matt Stainbrook finished with a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) and shot 5-for-7 from the field.
The Pirates set the tone from the opening tip rushing out to an 8-0 advantage in the first three minutes. It was an all hands on deck effort for The Hall as Stephane Manga (Orleans, France) got it going in his first career start banking in the first bucket of the game with the shot clock winding down. Eight of nine Pirates made their way into the scoring column, including nine points from Eugene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) and four from Manga.
Seton Hall has now won two of its last three games and joins #20/#20 Creighton and #9/#9 Villanova as the only BIG EAST teams to win three conference road games. The Pirates return to action Friday for a meeting with the Wildcats in Philadelphia, The Hall's last road contest before returning to the Prudential Center for a three-game homestand.
Tip time at Villanova is slated for 7 p.m. FOX Sports 1 has the national television broadcast and the Seton Hall radio team of Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin can be heard on 970 AM (WNYM).