Seton Hall came into its road matchup with Butler as one of Joe Lunardi’s “bubble” teams for the NCAA Tournament. A game against the 7-13 Bulldogs presented the very possibility the Pirates couldn’t afford – a bad loss. Unfortunately for Kevin Willard’s squad, that possibility became a reality as the Dawgs played their best game of the season and dominated the second half, ultimately prevailing, 61-52.
This game was a complete reversal of the previous meeting between these two teams. In that one, Seton Hall dominated physically, outrebounding the Bulldogs by eight and racking up eleven more free throw attempts. This time around, it was the Dawgs who bullied their way to a win, winning the rebound battle 36-28 and shooting nine more from the stripe. LaVall Jordan’s team was shooting just 63% on free throws coming in but, incredibly, made 15/16 attempts.
Despite struggling offensively, the Pirates had a slim edge at the half, but the lead was swiftly reclaimed by the Bulldogs, and behind Jair Bolden and Chuck Harris, the Dawgs created separation. Bolden, who has been in an extended slump over the last few weeks, scored all 16 of his points in the second half and Harris chipped in ten second-half points of his own.
This was a devastating loss for the Pirates in terms of their Tournament resume, but they’ll have a chance to gain back some ground with games remaining against UConn and St. John’s.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs add another impressive win to their up-and-down season. At 7-11 in the BIG EAST, they have wins over Creighton and Seton Hall, who are second and third in the league. They have a chance to complete the trifecta Saturday when Villanova comes to town.
Butler hosts Villanova on Saturday, February 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Seton Hall hosts UConn on Wednesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET.