Roughly one month ago, Seton Hall snapped Xavier's 13 game home win streak, beating the Musketeers 68-60. The Musketeers (20-10, 10-7), in turn, snapped Seton Hall's 1 game home losing streak tonight, as the Pirates outlasted Xavier 71-62 (15-15, 6-11) while also bidding adieu to their seniors.
As if my increasingly more frequent rogue gray hairs aren't enough of a reminder of how old I'm getting, Senior Night usually does the trick. It's hard to believe that Fuquan Edwin
(the last official tie to the Bobby Gonzalez era) has played his last game in a Pirate uniform at the Prudential Center. Of course we wish the school's all-time leader in steals (290 and counting) the best, moving forward, along with seniors Eugene Teague, Brian Oliver
, Aaron Geramipoor
and Kevin Lynch. Currently, Edwin is projected as a mid-second round NBA draft
pick and I'm certain I speak for the entire Seton Hall community when I say he's made us proud in his four years as a Pirate.
Brian Oliver torched the Muskateer perimeter defense, shooting 50% (5-10) from deep and finished his Prudential Center career with 20 points and two very important steals. In fact, Oliver's defense was some of the best I've seen from him in a Pirate uniform. Seton Hall's perimeter defense was certainly not a forte for them tonight, but the buckets just didn't drop for Xavier; in contrast, they shot an anemic 13.5% from beyond the arc.
Xavier's Matt Stainbrook suffered what appeared to be a considerable knee injury. He came down awkwardly and was writhing in pain, screaming and slamming his fists on the court. For the rest of the way, the Pirates dominated the glass (22-13 in the first half) and Kevin Willard exposed this porous hole in the middle. Semaj Christon
tried to put the Musketeers on his back and for a period of time he did just that, scoring a game high 28 points (24 of which were in the second half), but it wasn't enough.
The absence of Stainbrook plus foul trouble for X's big men allowed Eugene Teague to eat, and eat well. The big fella played like it was Senior Night and had 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds before fouling out to a standing ovation. It's difficult to verbalize how much of a presence Teague has been in the paint and it's not possible to overstate how much he'll be missed next year.
Seton Hall's regular season comes to an end this Saturday at Butler, where the two struggling teams go into battle at 4:30pm. The Pirates return east for action in the first round of the Big East Tournament
at Madison Square Garden beginning March 12th but until then, we'll savor a win on Senior Night against a quality Xavier team.
Hazard Zet Forward!