The Rutgers basketball program couldn't carry its Wednesday victory over the Villanova Wildcats (No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) to a win Saturday night. Instead, it was the Seton Hall Pirates earning a 69-64 victory in a Big East Conference game at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ.
Junior guard Jordan Theodore netted 11 of his 18 bench points in the first half to help SHU (11-14, 5-8 Big East) earn a 34-27 at halftime lead. Senior Jeremy Hazell scored 11 of his team-best 19 points in the second half to secure the Pirates victory and end a two-game losing streak. Junior forward Herb Pope chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds.
Rutgers (13-12, 4-9) began the second half with a quick 7-1 spurt, aided by senior forward Jonathan Mitchell who scored six of his team-best 24 points during the run, to cut the margin to 35-34 with 16:51 to play in the game. The contest remained close, 54-53 with 3:41 remaining, but the Scarlet Knights couldn't complete the comeback because SHU went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the last two minutes.
Statistically, the Pirates shot 25-of-50 from the floor and 7-of-20 (35.0 percent) from behind the 3-point arc. Rutgers finished 23-of-53 (43.4) on field goals and 8-of-19 (42.1) on 3-pointers. SHU out rebounded Rutgers, 26-21. The Scarlet Knights committed 18 turnovers, while the Pirates had 14.
The Rutgers basketball schedule features the Scarlet Knights traveling to the Syracuse Orange next Saturday (4 p.m.). The following week, Rutgers hosts the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday, Feb. 22.; then the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sunday, Feb. 27.
The Seton Hall basketball schedule features the Pirates playing host to the Villanova Wildcasts on Tuesday (8 p.m.); then traveling to the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday (9 p.m.).