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After hot Highlander start, Seton Hall stymies NJIT, 71-55

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Freshman guard Jaren Sina recorded a career-high 17 points against NJIT on Tuesday night.
Freshman guard Jaren Sina recorded a career-high 17 points against NJIT on Tuesday night.

After a scorching start which saw NJIT score 11 points over the first two minutes of action, inspiring the several dozen Highlander student athletes that made the 1-mile trek to Prudential Center, Seton Hall held their guests to 17 points en route to a 31-28 halftime lead that was not relinquished over the remainder of the game.

Leading 19-14 with 9:15 to play in the first half, NJIT (6-5) succumbed to a 17-9 Seton Hall trot to close the half. On the tail end of the break, the Pirates (7-3) continued to squeeze the life out of a one-dimensional Highlander attack that thrives on made shots. NJIT scored just two points during the opening 7:46 of the second half before a Damon Lynn 3-ball put an end to a 30-9 Seton Hall swing.

Despite NJIT cutting their deficit to five with 5:15 to play, the final result was never really in question. Much like their loss at the hands of Fairleigh Dickinson, albeit for different reasons, Seton Hall was curiously not able to get Gene Teague (11 pts, 14 rebs) into the flow of the game against an opponent that plays just one player above 6-foot-6. The big man still recorded his third double-double in a row and and fourth in his last five games.

Instead of Teague, Seton Hall's attack was led by an impressive career-high 17 points from freshman guard Jaren Sina, a quiet 16-point output from Sterling Gibbs, and a much-needed breakout performance from forward Brandon Mobley (18 pts, 3 rebs, 3 blks). Shooting guard Brian Oliver (3 pts, 1-7 3pt) had a quiet showing after being ejected for a flagrant-2 foul against Rutgers on Sunday night.

As expected, NJIT was led by freshman Damon Lynn (16 pts, 4-9 3pt), who impressively drilled a 35-footer after the halftime buzzer sounded. Guard Nigel Sydnor (8 pts) failed to take another field goal attempt after scoring 8 of NJIT's first 21 points, including two 3-pointers. The rest of the NJIT team shot a collective 11-31 (35%) from the floor. The Highlanders attempted just two free throws over the first 33:18 of the game.

Seton Hall returns to action against Saint Peter's at Prudential Center on Saturday for a noon matinee.

If you missed it late last night, Tom Maayan has played his last game for Seton Hall.