Reaction: Rutgers 77, Seton Hall 72 (OT)
February, 25, 2012
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score
NEWARK, N.J. -- A quick take on Rutgers' 77-72 overtime win over Seton Hall on Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd at the Prudential Center.
WHAT IT MEANS: Rutgers snaps its six-game losing streak and exacts revenge on Seton Hall for its win in Piscataway, 59-54 on Feb. 8. The Scarlet Knights are now 13-16 overall, and 5-11 in Big East play. This is a huge win for Mike Rice and his young team.
Seton Hall loses on Senior Night and drops to 19-10 overall, 8-9 in the conference. The Pirates better win their season finale at DePaul next Saturday night in order to feel good about their NCAA tournament chances.
THE SKINNY: Both teams got off to hot starts shooting the ball. With the score tied at 18, Seton Hall went on an 11-1 run to make it 29-19. But Rutgers closed the gap to 32-28 at halftime. The Pirates shot 5-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half, while the Scarlet Knights were 4-for-6.
Rutgers opened the second half on an 8-2 run to retake the lead, Seton Hall took it right back, and it was a seesaw battle from there. The Scarlet Knights led by as many as six, 55-49, but the Pirates rallied to tie the game at 57 with 4:38 left. Seton Hall's Jordan Theodore made two clutch free throws with 12.7 seconds remaining to tie the game at 65. On the ensuing possession, Rutgers' Gilvydas Biruta turned the ball over on a drive to the hoop with 3.1 seconds on the clock. Then Herb Pope missed a desperation 3-pointer from half-court at the buzzer.
In overtime, Rutgers quickly took a 70-65 lead, but Seton Hall bounced back to tie it at 70. The game came down to two shots. Rutgers freshman Jerome Seagears buried a trey from the left corner with 13.2 seconds remaining in OT, giving the Scarlet Knights a 75-72 lead. Then Theodore, the Seton Hall senior, saw his game-tying 3-pointer go in and out. That's your ballgame.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Dane Miller, who has been frustratingly passive for much of this season, took over this game in the second half. Miller finished with a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, with 16 of his points coming after intermission. Eli Carter also had 17 points for the Scarlet Knights.
Seton Hall's two seniors, Theodore and Pope, will be disappointed in their final home performances. Theodore had a team-high 17 points, but shot just 4-for-14 from the field. Pope had 14 points and 12 rebounds, but fouled out with 44 seconds remaining in OT.
NUMBER CRUNCH: In an even game, the big stat was Rutgers' performance from beyond the arc -- the Scarlet Knights connected on a remarkable 10 of 15 shots from 3-point range.
WHAT'S NEXT: Seton Hall wraps up its regular season next Saturday at DePaul. Rutgers has two games remaining, versus Villanova on Thursday and St. John's next Saturday, both at the RAC.