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Seton Hall vs. Illinois State game recap: Gibbs scores 40 as Pirates outlast Redbirds to win Paradise Jam

The Pirates battled back and forth with the Redbirds, but a special performance by “Stepback” Sterling Gibbs propels the blue and white to the 84-80 win.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sterling Gibbs turned in his best performance as a Pirate as he scored 40 points as the Hall claimed the Paradise Jam Championship with their win over the Illinois State Redbirds. "Stepback" Sterling became the 12th Pirate ever to reach the 40 point,  made all 13 of his free throws and was named the tournament MVP.

Freshman Isaiah Whitehead also had his best game as a Pirate as he tallied 18 points, six assists and three rebounds, to go along with six turnovers.

The Pirates (4-0) had a 30-9 lead early in this game, but the Redbirds fought back as they got as close as four before falling to the Hall.

Illinois State (2-2) forced 22 turnovers and scored many of their points off of them. The Redbirds also got hot from behind the arc down the stretch as they finished 10-18 from three point land.

If the Pirates had controlled the ball and played more efficiently they might have blown out the Redbirds, but Illinois State never went away and had a slight chance to steal this game away in the final moments. In the end, they just could not make up the difference.

Bobby Hunter had 23 points for the Redbirds, but he fouled out down the stretch during the late run that his teammates put together.

For Seton Hall, the only other player in double figures was Jaren Sina who had 11 points. He shot 3-4 from the field and hit both of his three pointers.

The Pirates, as a team, really improved from the free throw line shooting just under 74 percent as they hit 28 of their 38 attempts. If the Hall can continue that trend they will be in great shape.

Besides Gibbs, the biggest difference in this game ended up being field goal percentage. The Hall shot just over 51 percent from the field while the Redbirds shot just over 42 percent.

Angel Delgado, Brandon Mobley and Desi Rodriguez, who all had big games at some point during the tournament, were all non-factors for the most part in the title game combining for just 12 points and 16 rebounds.

So far, it seems that every night someone different has stepped up for the Pirates and they have had the best possible start to their season. Now they get a much deserved five day break before hosting George Washington in Newark.