New York City - It was a game that will be remembered as a ‘classic’ as DePaul defeated Seton Hall 66-65 in game two of the opening round of the Big East Tournament. The Blue Demons led following three free throws by Umoja Gibson (fouled on attempt from beyond the arc) with four seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession Seton Hall went coast to coast with Femi Odukale’s layup blocked at the rim by Nick Ongenda. Or was it a goaltend? Did the shot get released in time? After a review at the monitor it was deemed a blocked shot. Game over.
DePaul’s Javan Johnson led all scorers with 19 points. Nick Ongenda added 15 and was a key factor inside down the stretch, even prior to his game saving rejection. Seton Hall's leading scorer was Tyrese Samuel with 16 points. DePaul snapped a 12 game losing streak, not having been in the win column since the middle of January.
Seton Hall’s Shaheen Holloway was most upset at the "two killer turnovers we had at the end. It’s something we work on all the time, that's why I am really upset." Seton Hall is 17-15 and Holloway would enthusiastically welcome a NIT bid. "If we got an opportunity to keep playing basketball who wouldn’t (accept the bid) ?. I’d love to."
DePaul, 10-22, faces Xavier in the quarterfinals. "I am happy for our guys," DePaul mentor Tony Stubblefield said. "They could have easily gave into a couple of times over the course of the game. The guys stuck with it and didn’t put their heads down."
Stubblefield admitted he didn’t know what the final review was over, a goaltend or attempt after the clock ran out. For both teams and their fans the few minutes officials huddled at the scorer’s table seemed like an eternity as the game hinged on what the monitor revealed. The only thing Stubblefield could say was "I don’t recall a time in my career when I’ve been through that."
Villanova 80 Georgetown 48
In Wednesday’s final game Villanova had it all over Georgetown. In a 63 possession game Villanova enjoyed a 127-76 edge in offensive efficiency. Kyle Neptune’s Wildcats were running like a well oiled machine. Georgetown was slow in closing on the outside shooters and Villanova took the open looks connecting on 43% (15-35) of their attempts beyond the arc. The interior defense of the Hoyas was decidedly below par as Villanova at times, appeared to be in a layup line on penetration to the basket. In the Hoya’s defense, Akok Akok was out and Bryson Mozene was not at full strength. Thus, lack of a defender in the paint. Georgetown finished the season 7-25 dropping their last four. Villanova, winners in four of their last five, will face Creighton in the quarterfinals, is 17-15 and playing well of late.
Villanova had excellent balance with five double figure scorers. Cam Whitmore led the way with 19 points, a game-high total. The Hoyas of Patrick Ewing had one double figure scorer in Primo Spears with 17.
"Happy way our guys competed. They really didn’t score much from the half court. Proud of the effort. A great team effort came out and really executed. Our guys set the tone early. We can get better. Our goal is to be the best team we can be by the end of the season." - Villanova coach Kyle Neptune
"It’s always good to be back in New York, but I’m very disappointed in the fact the season is over for us and we didn’t accomplish the things that we wanted to accomplish." - Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing