Seton Hall outlasted by No. 3 Louisville, 73-58
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - While he preferred a win, coach Kevin Willard wasn't complaining after undermanned Seton Hall stayed with No. 3 Louisville well into the second half.
"I'm proud of my guys,'' Willard said after his team lost 73-58 Wednesday night. "They battled. That's a good basketball team. They're No. 3 in the country and we battled for about 30 minutes.''
With 12:53 remaining in the game, Seton Hall junior Fuquan Edwin made a long 3-pointer that tied the game at 42-42.
However from that point on, the Pirates began to wilt under the Louisville pressure, as the Cardinals outscored the Pirates 12-2 over a 4:19 span. Luke Hancock came up big for Louisville in the run, hitting two consecutive 3-pointers.
After the run, the Cardinals (14-1, 2-0 Big East) maintained control the rest of the way, winning their ninth straight game and sending the Pirates (12-4, 1-2) to their second straight conference loss.
"They got three offensive rebounds in a row and that really hurt us,'' Willard said. "We have the right guys shooting the shots and they got three offensive rebounds and banged down two threes off of them. We were a little gassed at that point.''
Gorgui Dieng had 16 points and 14 rebounds, both of which were season highs, to lead the Cardinals.
Freshman Montrezl Harrell, starting in place of injured Chane Behanan, tied his career best with 14 points.
The Cardinals won despite getting a combined 4-for-17 shooting performance from starting guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva.
Brandon Mobley had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Pirates, but Willard wasn't pleased with the way the sophomore forward played.
"I don't think he's playing good,'' Willard said. "He has a long way to go. Brandon is our most talented player on the team, but his body is really limiting him. He has about 20 good minutes in him, but he becomes lost in the second half because he can't sustain what he's doing.''
Gene Teague added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Edwin was limited to 13 - most coming after the game was decided.
"They really did a good job focusing on me not getting any open looks,'' said Edwin, who made 4 of 14 from the floor. "They got out on me pretty fast. It's a little frustrating, because I wasn't making plays for my teammates and I have to take the blame for that.''
"They did a really good job on him, but he has to do a better job of getting himself shots,'' Willard said. "We have to do a better job of finding him. He takes some shots that sometimes that get himself out of rhythm. But everyone is going to key on him and he has to get used to it. No one is going to let him run free.''
It was the second straight double-double for Dieng, who only returned to the lineup on Dec. 29 after missing a month after breaking his left wrist against Missouri. The junior from Senegal also had three blocks. His previous season highs were 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cardinals struggled and didn't put the Pirates away until midway through the second half.
Harrell broke the 42-all tie with an alley-oop layin. Smith scored on a fast break and Hancock had two 3-pointers around a layup by Mobley for a 52-44 lead.
Stephan Van Treese added two free throws to push the advantage to 10 points and Louisville was never threatened again.
"I like the way Seton Hall plays,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "Kevin has them going in the right direction. I think we did a good job of getting out on their threes and then we then were able to get to Teague, who I think is a great player. We were able to get more deflections in the second half and that was a key.''
Louisville had 12 steals and forced 16 turnovers, while limiting the Pirates to 34.7 percent shooting from the field (17 of 49). The Cardinals struggled, hitting 23 of 55 from the floor.
Behanan, who was averaging 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds, sprained his left ankle in practice Monday and is expected to be sidelined up to 10 days.
Seton Hall got what it wanted in the first half, forcing the Cardinals into a half-court game and limiting them pretty much to one shot a possession. It kept the game close and the Pirates used a late 8-2 spurt to get within 36-34 at the half.
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