In somewhat of an inverse performance when compared to their loss to Oklahoma the night prior, Seton Hall escaped 68-67 against Virginia Tech in the final minutes in Brooklyn last night.
Against Oklahoma, Seton Hall posted mostly rosey stats in the box score, but ultimately failed to win. Last night, the Pirates struggled statistically, yet made the plays that mattered in the closing minutes. Senior captain Fuquan Edwin (18 pts, 6 rebs, 3 stls) bounced back from a sloppy final act against Oklahoma by scoring a go-ahead 3-pointer off of a Tom Maayan pitch with :27 left on the clock. Edwin was assisted by a shock-and-awe 13 points from guard Jaren Sina in a 5:38 span of the first half. Sina also assisted on a Brian Oliver deep ball just seconds prior to this stellar period that showed the freshman at his most confident so far this season.
Post-game quotes from Kevin Willard:
On the win, performance (taken from Brendan Prunty's game story): "These guys played great. The way these guys lost last night was tough. But we watched film (Saturday) morning on us and just said, 'Hey, we're going to be in this situation a lot.' We played 39 good minutes last night, but we've got to play 40 good minutes tonight. I thought the guys down the stretch, defensively - we didn't play well offensively - played really hard. We did the things we had to do to win."
Behind the scenes on Edwin's go-ahead 3-ball: "What I wanted to do was set a high pick-and-roll with Brandon (Mobley). Fu's man came off and Fu just did what he's done for four years here - he made a big shot."
On Tommy Maayan (from Jerry Carino's game recap): "Tommy played great tonight because he went to the basket. We're not relying on one guard like we did last year. Last year we would have lost this game. When Tommy does that he adds a different dimension to his game. Obviously the five assists and one turnover doesn't surprise me."
Explaining guard rotation, depth: "Last night Sterling played great. That's why Tommy didn't play much. Tonight Jaren played great in the first half and that's why Sterling didn't play that much in the first half. I think it's made these guys' (Edwin's and Teague's) lives easier because they get most of the attention. Eugene gets doubled every time and Fuquan gets the best defenders. (Now) one of them is going to get you, and that's what we did not have last year."
Patrik Auda's foot injury: "The swelling went down. I don't want to be too optimistic because when I do, something bad happens." (He'll have an MRI on Monday and they will compare the X-rays to last year's).
Quotes from the Seton Hall players:
Fuquan Edwin on bouncing back: "It was killing me during the whole night. I really couldn't sleep. I knew I should have been smarter in that situation (Friday night). I was beating myself up. I just wanted to stay calm and focus on the next game. I told coach I was sorry, and he picked me up. He said it wasn't my fault. I just needed to hear him say that."
Edwin explaining Virginia Tech's quick start: "It was just one of those starts where we started off slow. They just pushed up on us and got the lead early. But coach just called an early timeout and told us we need to pick it up. That's what we did."
Interesting stats & notes:
Virginia Tech had around an 82% win probability when leading 61-57. They had an 83% win probability prior to the C.J. Barksdale front end 1-and-1 miss at 61-59 that lead to Edwin go-ahead 3-pointer. In stark comparison, Seton Hall had about a 97% win probability with 1-minute to play against Oklahoma.
The 7 turnovers that Seton Hall committed against Virginia Tech was their lowest total since the neutral court game versus Rhode Island last November. Seton Hall hasn't had less than 7 turnovers since taking on Saint Peter's in November of 2010, when they committed just 5 with Jordan Theodore at the point.
As hinted at in our preview of Virginia Tech, Devin Wilson is their shutdown guard. He defended Sterling Gibbs incredibly well on his drives to the hoop last night, leaving the emerging guard 0-for-8 from the floor with just one trip to the free throw line that wasn't the result of a Virginia Tech intentional foul in the closing seconds.
Seton Hall beat Virginia Tech last night by shooting 32.3% from the field. The last time they won a game with an equal or worse percentage: March 1st, 2003 vs. West Virginia (31.6%). To add context, Kevin Pitsnogle played against Marcus Toney-El, Kelly Whitney, and Andre Barrett in that game. This was all predictable, kind of. Virginia Tech had a bottom-5 defensive turnover percentage in the country going into the game.
Seton Hall's field goal percentage woes were so poor due to three separate brutal droughts. First, the Pirates scored just 8 points over the first 7:04 of the game. Then, Seton Hall went on a 5:25 field goal drought between 15:26 (Karlis 3-pointer) and 10:01 (Oliver 3-ball) in the second half. Lastly, from the 8:53 to 3:10 mark in the second half, Seton Hall went from 54 points to 57 after one Brandon Mobley free throw and a clutch Tom Maayan right-handed lay-in -- 3 points in 5:43.