- Kieran Darcy, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Some quick thoughts on Seton Hall’s 64-63 win Thursday over Villanova at Madison Square Garden:
What it means: Villanova probably blew its chance to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Seton Hall is in the Big East tournament semifinals, two wins away from stealing an NCAA bid.
The Wildcats -- the top seed in the Big East, and the No. 3-ranked team in the country -- were stunned by the Pirates, thanks to Sterling Gibbs’ jumper as time expired.
Seton Hall (17-16, 6-12), the No. 8 seed, is in the Big East semis for the first time since 2001. Villanova (28-4, 16-2) will likely get a No. 2 seed, at best, on Selection Sunday.
The turning point: Seton Hall shocked the early-afternoon Garden crowd by taking a 28-13 lead with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the first half. Villanova scored the final six points of the half to cut its deficit to eight for a 34-26 score. The Wildcats shot just 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) from the field, and missed seven free throws.
Villanova erupted on a 16-0 run, sparked by several open-court steals and scores, to make it 47-44 with eight minutes left, its first lead of the game. But Seton Hall did not wilt. The game came down to the final minute.
A Villanova steal followed by a Josh Hart layup broke a 59-59 tie with 41 seconds remaining. Then Seton Hall’s Jaren Sina buried a 3-pointer from the corner with 21 seconds left to put the Pirates back up 62-61. Darrun Hilliard got a jumper in the lane to roll in with 11 seconds left, giving the lead back to the Wildcats 63-62. And then Gibbs pulled up and nailed a jumper from the foul line area at the buzzer, setting off a wild celebration.
Star watch: Senior forward Gene Teague had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Seton Hall. Patrik Auda scored 13 points, all in the first half. Gibbs finished with 10 points and six assists.
Hart led Villanova with 18 points off the bench.
Number crunch: Villanova shot just 22-for-58 from the field (37.9 percent), 4-for-19 from beyond the arc (21.1 percent), and 15-for-25 from the foul line (60 percent).
What’s next: Seton Hall will play either No. 4 seed Providence or No. 5 seed St. John’s at 7 p.m. ET Friday. Villanova heads home to Philadelphia and awaits Selection Sunday.
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