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Seton Hall foils Rutgers 69-64

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This time Seton Hall had an answer.

Every time Rutgers made a run, Jordan Theodore would put the team on his back.  Rutgers, on the other hand, played sloppy offense, some porous defense, and made several mental mistakes.

More after the jump...

Jonathan Mitchell came to play, and scored 24 points again.  And Gilvydas Biruta was a beast underneath, dropping in 18.  But the rest of the Scarlet Knights didn't seem to really get it going consistently.  

The team played hard, but they didn't execute.  They would come up with a turnover, but botch the fast break.  They'd get a defensive stop, but miss a key rebound.  Rutgers was outrebounded 27-21 and turned the ball over 18 times.  Rutgers was able to make two runs.  Down 34-27 at halftime, Rutgers came out solid at the start of the second.  They made a run and were able to take a one point lead.

Seton Hall, however, responded with two Herb Pope buckets.  After that Mike Coburn and Dane Miller weren't able to get it going offensively; Miller didn't even score a point.  Rutgers shooting was off all night, but still fought to stay in it.

The turning point of the game came with a shift in momentum.  Down 6 points, Biruta went up for a shot, but Pope pulled him down hard.  The referees called an intentional foul: two shots and the ball.  Willard complained to the refs while Biruta hit both shots.  Rutgers kept the possession as well.  The refs were swayed by the arguing, since the Pope call was questionable.  As RU got the ball down to Biruta, Pope slid in underneath him and stopped him from getting to the basket.  No call--make-up. 

RU was never able to get back in it after that. 

Austin Carroll had a nice game, hitting two 3s and scoring 8 total points.  James Beatty was good as well, hitting a few threes and dishing out 8 assists. The RAC was packed and rocking tonight, but not enough to get RU over the hump.

But the way this is lining up, RU and SHU may meet up in March, during the 12/13 game of the Big East Tournament.  The team now has a week off until Syracuse on Saturday.

Here's Mike Rice's press conference.