Final Score: Providence 74, Seton Hall 69

USA TODAY Sports

Seton Hall, coming off a tough loss to DePaul, and missing Fuquan Edwin to injury were unable to beat Providence, a team on the bubble, desperately needing a victory.

The Providence Friars defeated the Seton Hall Pirates at "The Rock" by a score of 74-69, a win that was key to keep them in contention for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The Pirates played this game without their star player Fuquan Edwin, who was nursing a thumb injury that kept him on the sidelines. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard remarked after the game, "He won’t practice tomorrow and probably won’t practice on Sunday...he is probably questionable for Monday." It will be a big blow for this team if he is out long-term and it is impressive that they played so competitively without him.

Seton Hall and Providence both played slow early in the game, scoring a combined 74 points at the half. Providence really started to pick things up late in the first half and played like something was on the line. The Friars continued their momentum into the second half as they held onto the lead and ran with it from there.

Willard commented on the team’s similar pattern of losing close games against Big East opponents. The Seton Hall coach said, "We’ve done it a couple of times at home. We’ve had a lead and kinda gave that momentum away, and then we just missed. We had early in the half opportunities and we just didn’t take advantage of it, we missed too many layups, too many shots. You just can’t play good basketball teams and give them empty possessions."

Interestingly enough, Providence and Seton Hall now have the same record against each other in their last six games.

The Friars played a good game against the Pirates, out rebounding them 40 to 35 and sported a field goal percentage of 48.1 percent in the game. The team had a balanced offensive attack with four players getting into double figures, most notably Bryce Cotton, who scored 24 points in the game. Not too shabby for one of the best players in the Big East and the nation as well.

The Seton Hall coach expressed his admiration for the Providence senior in the post game press conference. "McDermott is 1 and Bryce is 1A, I mean he’s not too far behind. I’ve been so impressed with him. What that young man’s done, for himself and for what he’s done for Providence, he’s single handedly for the last two years carried that program. I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he’s done and how good of a player he is."

Eugene Teague and Sterling Gibbs of Seton Hall beared the weight of their team in this game. They might not have been able to get the win, but these two young men had outstanding nights. Teague had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Gibbs scored 20 points on his own.

This was a very important win for Providence, a team that is currently harboring on the bubble. According to Bracketologist Joe Lunardi of ESPN, the Friars will be one of the the last four teams in The Big Dance. This win will not bolster their chances at a berth into March Madness, but it most definitely will not hurt them.

Looking forward, Seton Hall will stay at home to face Xavier on Monday,  while Providence will go home to Rhode Island on Tuesday to play Marquette, who is coming off of a narrow victory against Georgetown.

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