With Patrik Auda and Fuquan Edwin sidelined, Hakeem Harris not on the bench, Brian Oliver ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul, and Brandon Mobley fouled out, Seton Hall was down to seven available scholarship players in crunch time against arch rivals Rutgers.
A team effort from the likes of Haralds Karlis, who tipped a crucial offensive board to himself with :28 to play and Seton Hall up 3, and Stephane Manga (4 pts, 4 rebs, 1 ast), who logged a career-high 20 minutes while filling in for Edwin and Oliver (11 pts, 3-8 3pt, 22 mins), proved crucial in grinding out a 77-71 win at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J. last night.
These priceless minutes from Seton Hall's bench were highly saturated with experience and may yield dividends for Seton Hall in their Big East schedule, but they can't usurp the memorable night that center Gene Teague (16 pts, 16 rebs-7 offensive, 4 asts, 5stls) and point guard Sterling Gibbs (27 pts, 7-12 fg, 10-10 ft, 4 asts) both had in the slightly renovated RAC.
Teague's second straight performance of 16+ points, 16+ rebounds and 7+ offensive boards was enough to earn him the 2013 Joe Calabrese MVP award. Despite turning the ball over 7 times due to traveling violations and offensive fouls, Teague outplayed Rutgers' entire front court consisting of Wally Judge, Kadeem Jack, Greg Lewis, and Junior Etou. Teague's impact on the game outside of scoring and rebounding (4 asts, 5 stls) was on full display last night as the center did a little bit of everything in the red RAC paint.
Sterling Gibbs was Gene Teague's main competition for the Calabrese MVP award after playing like a man possessed from the opening tip. Channeling great performances of past Seton Hall guards like Jeremy Hazell, Jordan Theodore, and Andre Barrett, Gibbs was everything a point guard should be in a rivalry game. The sophomore was efficient-yet-aggressive, immune to pressure, tempo-setting, and fiery, all at the same time.
Instead of the usual Quotes & Notes format, here is a link to video of Kevin Willard, Sterling Gibbs, and Gene Teague's post-game press conference last night.
Interesting stats & notes:
After a career-night against LIU Brooklyn last Thursday, Gene Teague's 16 rebounds tied his personal record and 7 offensive boards came 1-short of tying the 8 that he recorded against the Blackbirds. A monster week for Teague (33 points, 32 boards (15 offensive), 6 asts, 7 steals) that somehow failed to earn him a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
Seton Hall recorded 12 offensive rebounds off of 25 missed shots. 3 rebound opportunities on missed FTs resulted in Rutgers defensive rebounds. Extra possessions.
According to NCAA rules, Brian Oliver must sit out against N.J.I.T. tomorrow night following his flagrant-2 foul against Rutgers. Oliver WILL play tomorrow, per Jerry Carino.
Seton Hall sunk 22-of-27 free throws last night. The Pirates have now scored 29.1% of their total points from the free throw line, good enough for 16th in the country and 3rd-best of high-majors (Indiana 9th, South Florida 14th).
Kevin Willard deemed Stephane Manga's 20 minutes of action as "the difference in the game, to be honest with you" when talking about injuries and forward depth.