Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Giant-Killers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Giant-Killers

Article excerpt

NEWARK -- Prudential Center security prevented fans from rushing the court after the final buzzer sounded Saturday, making it a little difficult for Seton Hall's players to celebrate with their staunchest supporters in the student section.

Yet, like they had for the rest of the day, the Pirates found a way.

Despite being without injured freshman sensation Isaiah Whitehead, and despite being without freshman rebounding machine Angel Delgado for much of the day due to foul trouble and injuries, Seton Hall persevered and scored a 66-61 upset of sixth-ranked Villanova in overtime in front of 10,701 fans.

The Pirates (12-2) picked off a ranked opponent for the second straight game.

They upended No. 15 St. John's on New Year's Eve. Seton Hall has its first 2-0 start in Big East play since 1999-2000 and its best overall start since it went 15-2 to be- gin the 2011-12 season.

"It means a lot to be able to bring excitement back to the Hall," junior guard Sterling Gibbs said, "bring it back to the Prudential Center. We really worked hard throughout the off-season and we're still working hard to be able to enjoy moments like this."

Enjoy it the Pirates did, wading into the crowd shortly after Jaren Sina's two free throws with 7.4 seconds left in overtime concluded the scoring and iced the victory.

"They couldn't come to us," a smiling Sina said of the fans, "[so] we went to them."

"It was awesome," said senior forward Brandon Mobley, who scored 10 points before fouling out in overtime. "A lot of those guys came back from their [holiday] break just to come to the game and that means a lot to us. Just to have that connection with those guys who have been supporting us all year, it was awesome."

Certainly Mobley and his teammates provided them with plenty of entertainment and agita, opening a 14-point lead early in the first half before falling behind by five points after halftime. Mobley made both ends of a one-and-one with 2:34 left in regulation, putting the Pirates ahead 56-54. But Daniel Ochefu (19 points, 24rebounds) tied it with a second-chance basket and the teams again traded scores, going into overtime tied at 58.

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard told his players before overtime to "look around, look at the crowd, look at who you're playing. It's on national TV. It's a great experience. …

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