It's the Big East Tournament. It has to be dramatic. Top-seeded Villanova fell in the quarterfinal round as Sterling Gibbs' buzzer-beater gave Seton Hall a 64-63 win at Madison Square Garden.
Fuquan Edwin got a transition layup to fall with 2:30 left, giving Seton Hall a 57-55 lead. JayVaughn Pinkston made one of two free throws, and a Darrun Hilliard dunk gave Villanova the lead back.
With 1:17 remaining, Eugene Teague made two free throws to give Seton Hall a one-point lead. Pinkston was fouled on the other end and made one of two free throws, the story of his afternoon. He went 3-10 from the line in the game.
But a steal led to an athletic layup by Hart, who gave the 'Cats a 61-59 lead with 40 seconds remaining. Jared Sina, who had a relatively bad game on defense, hit a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to give the Pirates a 62-61 lead with 17 ticks on the clock.
Hilliard's driving layup gave Villanova the advantage, but it just set the table for Gibbs to work his magic.
Seton Hall opened the game relatively hot from the field, making four of their first seven shots and assisting on three of them. Meanwhile Villanova didn't record an assist until the 13:27 mark.
Early baskets for Villanova came from Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston, while James Bell and Josh Hart went a combined 5-5 from the charity stripe early on.
The Pirates turned their cold shooting around from the previous night. They sank three of four from behind the arc, just 15 hours after nearly throwing the game away against Butler. Patrick Auda scored nine early points for the Pirates, who led 19-11 with 11:15 remaining in the first half.
After playing solid defense for 32 seconds, Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs sank a deep 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. Then Teague threw down a dunk. Soon after, Auda had a James Bellian put-back and forced Jay Wright to call a timeout down 13.
The Wildcats started ice cold, missing their first five shots from deep, and only making five field goals in the first 13 minutes. There was an sense of Creighton Part 1 in the air as the Pirates were shooting around 60% and were getting nearly any shot they wanted.
Near the end of the first half, Seton Hall started to cool down a bit, going over five minutes between field goals, but Villanova's sloppy offensive possessions led to blocks, turnovers, and continual missed 3-pointers.
That streak ended when Hart's dagger from the corner gave Villanova their first sniff of momentum the entire game. As the Pirates only made one shot in the final 7:14, the Wildcats climbed back into it. Hart was fouled on a 3-pointer and only made one free throw, but the bigger issue for Seton Hall was that the foul was Edwin's third.
Edwin, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, seemed to be in a bit of a funk in the first half. He shot just 1-10, which accounted for more than half of Seton Hall's missed field goals. His mistakes and overall slow play allowed the Wildcats to escape into halftime only trailing 34-26.
The second half opened just as the first half closed, slowly. There was an extensive stoppage in play to sort out an apparent flop by Pinkston after minor contact from Teague. Eventually, they awarded double flagrant fouls, which makes almost zero sense. Only reason I could see it is because they had to call something after blowing the whistle and that was the simplest way to have no other effect on the game other than a foul each.
Meanwhile, that play must have turned Pinkston on. He had a tip-in, a transition dunk, and a great anticipated deflection on defense that led to points as well. But Brandon Mobley hit a deep 3-pointer to give Seton Hall another double-digit lead at 42-31 with 14:36 remaining.
But this was Seton Hall. There had to be a collapse somewhere. Arcidiacono stole a telegraphed pass and laid it in, Hart drove the lane for a layup, and Pirate coach Kevin Willard called a timeout. Pinkston came down the next trip and scored. In a matter of a minute, the lead had shrunk to five, and Willard called another timeout.
This was notably around the same time in which SHU broke down in the previous night's game against Butler, losing a 13-point lead and eventually winning by one.
Bell stole a pass and missed the ensuing dunk, but Hart grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a foul en route to a 3-point play. Hilliard then stole a pass and his layup tied the game up at 44. Hilliard then hit from behind the arc to cap Villanova's 16-0 run.
The Pirates were not done yet, however. A 3-pointer from Edwin tied the game back up, and post moves from Teague gave Seton Hall a lead before Mobley's second 3-pointer made the score 55-50 with 4:49 left to give themselves an 11-3 run after going over seven minutes without scoring.
Arch nailed a 3, and his attempt at a second one was off but Hilliard's layup tied the game back up again with 3:29 left.