Seton Hall sinks Yale 73-62
NEWARK, N.J.—Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard knows that he has to rely on seniors like Herb Pope and Jordan Theodore on a nightly basis, but the player who most fuels the Pirates' fire is sophomore guard Fuquan Edwin.
Edwin scored a career-high 20 points and Pope added 17 and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Seton Hall to a 73-62 victory over Yale on Tuesday night.
"We don't call his number and we don't run plays for him, but he's been terrific all year. Fuquan is our glue guy," Willard said of Edwin, who reached double figures for the fifth straight game. "He's putting up some pretty good numbers and when he's playing at that level, he's fun to watch and we're pretty good."
The Pirates (4-1), who lost in the championship game of the Charleston Classic to Northwestern on Sunday, recovered after a sluggish first half to eventually pull away.
Even though it was their fourth game in six days, Willard would not use fatigue as an excuse.
"I don't think that had anything to do with this," Willard said. "Yale played extremely well and I thought they played better than us."
It marked the first time that Seton Hall faced Yale (2-2) since Feb. 13, 1943 -- a game won by Seton Hall, 43-32.
Edwin scored six points during an 11-0 run for a 36-28 lead toward the end of the first half, giving the Pirates the lead for good. Edwin also had a career-best five steals to go along with seven rebounds in the game.
Jordan Theodore had 13 points, including six straight free throws in the final 1:12 to put the game away, and Patrick Auda scored 12 for the Pirates. For Pope, named the Big East Player of the Week on Monday, it was the fourth time in five games that Pope collected double figures in points and rebounds.
Greg Mangano and Jeremiah Kreisberg paced Yale with 14 points each, while Reggie Willhite and Austin Morgan had 11 each. Kreisberg also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Yale controlled the action for most of the first half and held a 26-20 lead with 6:26 left after Brandon Sherrod made two free throws.
The Pirates finally got going, outscoring the Bulldogs 16-2 over the next five minutes, including the decisive 11-0 run over a span of 2:38. Edwin, who put the Pirates ahead 30-28 with two free throws at the 2:04 mark (only the second lead of the game for Seton Hall), scored six of the 11 points, giving the Pirates a 36-28 lead with 52 seconds remaining before intermission. Seton Hall held a 37-31 lead at the break.
Yale coach James Jones thought his team just didn't execute well during the final stages of the first half.
"I don't think we were fundamentally sound there," Jones said. "We had about three possessions where we threw the ball to no one. I had to shake my head over that. We're not going to win games turning the ball over 22 times. You can't play defense when you're turning it over and giving them layups in transition."
The Pirates pushed the lead to 41-31 on baskets by Edwin and Theodore to start the second half, but the Bulldogs climbed right back into it and trailed 42-40 on a power move from Mangano with 14:50 remaining.
Edwin then scored six points, including a driving layup, which put the Pirates ahead 54-46 with 8:43 remaining. The Pirates then went on to score nine straight points to increase the lead to 63-46 with 4:23 left, capped by a driving shot again by Edwin.
Yale mounted a comeback, outscoring Seton Hall 13-4 over a 2:50 span and capped by a 3-pointer from Morgan, bringing Yale to within 67-60 with 1:44 left.
But Theodore connected on his foul shots to put the game away for Seton Hall.
Jones believes his team should be better.
"I'm disappointed, because with four seniors, I thought we should be close to having a good team," Jones said. "I thought we'd have more composure. We're not there yet."
For the second straight home game, the Pirates were abysmal from 3-point range, connecting on just 2 of 16 from behind the arc. They were just 1 of 13 from 3-point range in the season opening win over St. Francis (N.Y.) last week. With tongue-in-cheek, Willard said that the reason lies within a legendary hockey goalkeeper.
"Martin Brodeur stops everything in this building," Willard said of the New Jersey Devils' perennial all-star who also plays in the Prudential Center, where Seton Hall plays their home games. "Maybe he's stopping our shooting as well. We've taken some bad 3s, but the greatest goalie of all-time is in this building. It could be the reason."