Oliver Purnell studied the tape and taught his DePaul Blue Demons they could turn the Pirates over at will if they were able to sustain their trademark full court press throughout the evening. Although the Blue Demons did just that while forcing 20 turnovers, the Pirates hot shooting coupled with a few clutch baskets in the closing minutes, proved enough to best DePaul 73-72 at the Allstate Arena Wednesday.
As it turned out, in the first half, Purnell was half right. DePaul threw the kitchen sink at Seton Hall and was able to cause 13 first half turnovers, however, most of the TOs came in transition or were product of their own (lack of) front court ball security. At one point, it appeared Fuquan Edwin (11pts/5reb/5ast/5to) momentarily forget how to dribble a basketball, as he lost control untouched on a fast break and when he had an easy chance to regain possession, he pushed the rock out of bounds. Despite the frenetic pace the Demons deployed, the Pirates beat the press quite easily in the first frame, finding open shots all over the perimeter, knocking down 7-of-12 from deep, which quietly opened up an 8-point cushion at the half.
Starting the second half with a 12 minute 3-point drought, the Pirates allowed the Blue Demons to open up a 3 & 5-point leads late in the game. Both times, Brandon Mobley (16pts/10reb) scored 5 straight Seton Hall points, on four HUGE second half buckets (two triples) that kept the Pirates alive and fighting. Mobley's hot second half shooting followed Aaron Cosby's (24pts, 4-of-7 3pt) torrid first, which kept the Pirates early lead comfortable into intermission, while setting the groundwork for a new career high of 24 points
Eugene Teague (11pts/14reb), the, "dancing bear," as dubbed by the ESPN3 booth earlier in the season, controlled the paint and was virtually unstoppable at moments as he played through foul trouble for much of the evening. Late in the game, Teague refused to give up on a loose ball around the rim, was determined to win the rebound and eventually finished, to pull the Pirates within a point with a minute remaining. Edwin's game winner may receive the glory tonight, but without that tough sequence from Teague, Seton Hall leaves Chicago with a crooked letter in the right column.
As mentioned above, Edwin struggled with his ball control for much of the evening and for the second time in as many games, his offense was noticeably off. Following a clutch mid-court steal by Kyle Smyth, Kevin Willard drew up a play for Edwin with 26 seconds remaining in regulation and Seton Hall trailing by a point. Edwin took an off balance jumper from 15 feet that rimmed out, but the Pirates were able to retain possession with 11 seconds remaining.
On the inbounds pass, Kyle Smyth was able to find Edwin along the baseline, who split one defender before receiving the pass and beat another afterwards, finishing a layup to give Seton Hall the lead with 8 seconds remaining. Finally, some dude named Jamee Crocket, or the Seton Hall killer, had the last chance for the Blue Demons. A wide open look from 25 feet dropped the heart of every Pirates' fan, before the attempt clanked out sending Seton Hall home victorious.