Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
With its 67-63 victory in overtime Saturday at Cincinnati, Seton Hall helped itself on two fronts.
The Pirates, picked to finish 13th in the conference, cemented the No. 11 seed in the Big East Tournament and will now play No. 14 South Florida at 9 p.m. Tuesday instead of St. John’s at 2. The winner will play the No. 6 Syracuse Wednesday night at 9 on ESPN.
In their lone meeting this year, the Pirates beat USF 75-60 on Feb. 25 in Newark.
Seton Hall (16-14, 7-11 Big East) also remains alive for an NIT bid. A win or two in the conference tournament would help its stock even further.
“I felt like that puts us right back in contention on the bubble for NIT,” Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez told WABC-770 radio. “I kept telling our kids, ‘If we win this game, we gotta be in the mix for postseason.'”
Gonzalez said he’s very happy that his team will now play a night game on Tuesday instead of an afternoon tilt against a St John’s team that split a pair of games this year with the Pirates.
“Our kids like playing at night better than they like playing during the day because we got night owls,” he said. “They’re New York City kids, they don’t wake up until 3 o’clock in the afternoon.”
Seton Hall opened the game making just 2-of-17 shots and trailed by as many as 14 points and by eight at the half, yet forced overtime.
In the extra period, Cincinnati hit back-to-back 3-pointers by Alvin Mitchell and Larry Davis to a cut a seven-point lead to 64-63.
Robert “Stix” Mitchell made 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 24.6 seconds to ice the game.
“We had great courage, character, heart, determination, iron will,” Gonzalez said. “To come on the road and beat Cincinnati in overtime in the last game of the regular season. Get the 11th spot, get to 16 wins, it’s just a monumental win for our program and for this team.”
Jeremy Hazell finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and three steals for Seton Hall. Eugene Harvey played brilliantly and scored 19. Paul Gause added 13 points and seven rebounds and Mitchell scored 12 points.
The Pirates shot 21-of-27 from the stripe.
Deonta Vaughn tallied 18 points and six rebounds for Cincinnati (18-13, 8-10). The Bearcats had hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, but closed the regular season losing three straight and five of six.
(Photo courtesy AP)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.