Senior wing Fuquan Edwin (35 pts, 15-26 fg, 5 stls) played like a fourth year player today, like a leader possessed to carry Seton Hall to victory. However, Edwin's career-high 35 points and 5 steals were not enough to prevent countless Seton Hall errors that kept Mercer in the game and ultimately allowed them to win a thriller in double overtime.
Seton Hall pounced on a slow Mercer start in front of a sparsely filled Hawkins Arena on the back of a hot shooting start from Edwin. He drilled several long jumpers in the first half, one of which was an overturned 3-ball, to spell Sterling Gibbs, who picked up two personal fouls within the first 1:55 of action. Tom Maayan and then Jaren Sina saw time at point guard while Gibbs sat for the remainder of the first half. Luckily for Seton Hall, Mercer gambled and lost by playing lead guard Langston Hall with two fouls in the first half -- he picked up a third before the under-12 timeout.
The Pirates were sitting on a 19-9 lead after two made free throws from Patrik Auda following a technical called on the Mercer bench. The infraction was likely in response to a 6:1 foul disparity against Mercer at the time of the foul -- Mercer did not attempt a foul shot until after the under-4 media timeout in the second half.
A Seton Hall 10-point margin quickly evaporated as Mercer went on an 18-9 run to close the half following the technical foul. Eleven first half Seton Hall turnovers aided the Mercer point-swing, resulting in a narrow 28-27 halftime lead for the Pirates.
Fuquan Edwin continued to carry Seton Hall in the second half, mixing Hazelian outside shooting with relentless acrobatic drives to the basket. Edwin's scoring was countered by Mercer senior Bud Thomas (17 pts, 6-10 fg), who kept Mercer afloat early in the second half, and senior leader Langston Hall, who finished with 24 points and 5 assists, 19 of which came after the under-4 media timeout in the second half.
Mercer's efforts to climb back into the game were consistently encouraged by turnover after Seton Hall turnover. The visitors relinquished the ball 20 times in regulation and added three more in overtime, including their first two possessions of the first overtime.
The Bears had a chance to win the game in regulation before turning the ball over to Seton Hall with the shot clock off. Sterling Gibbs was blocked on a drive to the basket with 3 seconds to play and the subsequent in-bounds pass from underneath the Mercer basket was deflected out of play as time expired.
As seems to be the case with most Seton Hall games in overtime, they fell behind. Mercer led 64-60 with 1-minute to play in the first overtime period before five quick Fuquan Edwin points, including a difficult 3-pointer, sent the game to double overtime.
Another 6 points from Edwin in the second overtime could not propel a then confident Mercer team from grabbing the edge before a 30-foot Brian Oliver game-tying heave rimmed out at the buzzer, leaving Mercer with a 77-74 victory.
Mercer improved to 2-1 on the season and Seton Hall dropped to 2-1. The Pirates take on Monmouth Monday night at Prudential Center.