Dec. 5, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. - Senior Brian Oliver (Glassboro, N.J.) overcame a slow start to nail a career-high eight 3-pointers and finish with 26 points to pace four Seton Hall players in double-figures as the Pirates downed reigning Northeast Conference champions LIU-Brooklyn, 92-81, in men's basketball action at the Prudential Center on Thursday night.
Oliver came off the bench to log 33 minutes after Fuquan Edwin (Paterson, N.J.) was forced to leave early in the first half with an ankle injury. He stepped up to shoulder much of the offensive load for Seton Hall (5-3) as he recorded the highest point total in his two years with the Pirates.
His eight 3-pointers are tied for the third-most all-time for a Seton Hall player in a single game and he is the first Pirate to make as many as eight since Jeremy Hazell did so against Notre Dame in 2010. As a team, SHU hit a season-high 14 treys, easily surpassing the previous mark of 10 set in a victory over Virginia Tech.
Classmate Eugene Teague (Vineland, N.J.) outclassed LIU-Brooklyn's frontcourt contingent, converting on 5-of-7 field goal attempts to register 16 points, while also grabbing a career-high 17 rebounds. Making his third consecutive start, forward Brandon Mobley (Savannah, Ga.) contributed 14 points and seven rebounds while Sterling Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.) totaled 16 points, five assists and three steals.
Gibbs entered the night ranked seventh in the BIG EAST with 4.3 assists/game and has not recorded fewer than four in a game this season.
After falling behind 6-5 early on, Seton Hall rattled off nine unanswered points and a right-handed scoop from freshman Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) helped The Hall open up a 14-6 edge just over six minutes into the game. Up against an undersized Blackbirds squad, the Pirates made full use of their size advantage early on as five of their first seven buckets came from inside the paint and at the 12:07 mark, Gibbs found Stephane Manga (Orleans, France) for a slam that put SHU in front, 20-10.
One of the foremost 3-point shooting teams in the BIG EAST, SHU missed its first eight attempts from downtown but when LIU-Brooklyn switched to a zone to combat the inside success the flood gates opened up. Over a stretch that began with 9:26 to go before the half and lasted nearly seven minutes, the Pirates attempted 12-straight field goals from beyond the arc, making seven. Oliver, who had missed his first four shots from long distance, found the range from his favored perch in the corner and accounted for four treys during the 3-point barrage as The Hall built a 45-35 lead.
Tom Maayan (Galil, Israel) added his second triple of the period in the closing minutes and a fall-away 3-pointer from a red-hot Oliver at the buzzer sent Seton Hall into the locker room in front, 53-36. The 53-point outburst was the Pirates' largest total in one half this season as the team netted 12 points from the foul line as well after attempting a season-low 11 free-throws in the entire game last time out against Fairleigh Dickinson.
Six rebounds apiece from Teague and Mobley also helped SHU outrebound the Blackbirds 22-to-16 in the opening period.
Oliver knocked down three more trifectas in the opening minutes of the second half to help the Pirates maintain their distance, the last of which created the largest gap of the game at 71-51 with 13:36 to go. LIU-Brooklyn forward E.J. Reed scored 14 second half points and keyed a late charge that saw the visitors pull to within nine as a layup from Reed cut the deficit to 80-71 with 6:04 remaining. Gibbs and Teague provided the answer for The Hall, combining to score eight unanswered points that pushed the lead back to 17 at 88-71.
Two late baskets from Teague down low secured Seton Hall's fifth win of the season and their sixth-straight over LIU-Brooklyn, all of which of come by a double-digit margin.
Teague bounced back nicely from a game in which he was limited to 14 minutes of action due to the stomach flu, overpowering the Blackbirds and posting 11 points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone to notch his second double-double in three games. His 17 rebounds are the highest individual total since the Vineland native snatched 15 boards last season against DePaul on January 2.
The 6-foot-9 big man who entered the game with a 53.3 shooting percentage from the charity stripe also made a season-high seven free throws on nine attempts as the Pirates collectively returned to form, sinking 20-of-25 foul shots on the night.
In his second start of the season, Sina finished with six points and a career-high six assists. Entering the night, he had totaled 10 assists in seven collegiate appearances.
2012-13 national assists leader Jason Brickman led LIU-Brooklyn (2-5) with 19 points and nine assists.
Next up for the Pirates is a trip to Piscataway on Sunday for the 65th installment of the intra-state rivalry with Rutgers. SHU holds a 35-29 all-time advantage but will look to snap a three-game skid against the Scarlet Knights when the two teams square off at 8 p.m.
The game will be televised on ESPNU and the Watch ESPN app. The Seton Hall radio broadcast with Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin will be available on 970 AM and through SHUPirates.com