Seton Hall defeated the Maine Black Bears in their one and only game in Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange on Saturday afternoon 72-43.
The Black Bears pushed the tempo early on in the game and got off to a 5-0 lead. Seton Hall quickly tied it back up following a few nice plays from Sterling Gibbs, and a 21-0 run that lasted almost 11 minutes subsequently came about.
The Hall was playing a very uptempo style in the early minutes to try to throw the Black Bears off their game, and it worked to perfection. Running a 2-2-1 half-court trap defense, the Pirates forced 13 turnovers in the first half.
Seton Hall did struggle in one area which has plagued them all season: free throw shooting. The Pirates didn't make a free throw in the first half, and at one point in the second half was just 3-for-10 from the charity stripe.
It was the best defensive half that Seton Hall played all season long, as they held Maine to shooting just 23 percent from the field and giving up a season-low 16 points. The halftime score showed Seton Hall leading 36-16, as they shot an even 50 percet from the field, with 10 points apiece from Sterling Gibbs and Angel Delgado.
Gibbs has really come into his own this season, and has looked more and more like his brother Ashton, who was a standout player at Pittsburgh a few years ago. His three point shooting has been a key part to his game, as well as playing good perimeter defense.
Going into the second half, Seton Hall controlled the rebounding battle 22-17, and had six blocks to Maine's zero.
The Pirates got off to another hot start in the second half, as they had a 13-5 run going with 15 minutes left in the game. Seton Hall looked like a legitimate contender for a top seed in the Big East Tournament, but obviously it has to be taken with a grain of salt as it was against a team with only one win on the year.
There was a minor slip up in the game for the Pirates between the under 16 and 12 timeouts, as Maine went on a 6-0 run, and drew closer to Seton Hall.
The lead never got to less than 20 for the Pirates in the second half, as the Pirates stayed right around 50% shooting for the last 20 minutes.
Sterling Gibbs scored a game high 18 points, and Seton Hall had three of the top four rebounders in the game with Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado all tied at 6.
Seton Hall moves on to face No. 17 St. John's on New Year's Eve.