Pirates Fall in Big East Tournament Quarterfinals to ButlerDate: March 9, 2018
(Photo: SHU Athletics)
By: John Pirsos
MANHATTAN- Tyler Wideman had the game-winning tip-in for the Butler Bulldogs with less than five seconds to remaining to cap off a heartbreaking 75-74 defeat for the Seton Hall Pirates late Thursday evening.
"They've run the same play against us at home, on the road. They were just going to bring Wideman up and crack 'em," Head Coach Kevin Willard said after the game. "I thought Mike did a good job of challenging it late, and Wideman did a great job following it, tipping it."
The Pirates led the Bulldogs 43-35 at halftime, however Kamar Baldwin scored 18 second half points, and finished with a career high 32 points to give Butler their first ever Big East Tournament victory.
The final two minutes were back and forth and had all the ingredients of a classic Big East Tournament finish. The game was tied at 68 with 1:39 to go, when a Henry Baddley layup gave the Bulldogs a 70-68 lead with 1:10 remaining. Out of a Seton Hall timeout, Myles Powell launched a three that hit the front of the rim twice before getting the shooter's roll. The Pirates were back in front 71-70 with 55 seconds left.
The star of the night, Baldwin answered with a three-point-play to give Butler a 73-71 lead with 22 seconds to go. After another Seton Hall timeout, Khadeen Carrington answered with a three-point-play of his own to retake a 74-73 lead with 11 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Baldwin then went coast to coast and missed a contested layup, but Wideman tipped it in from the left side to give Butler the 75-74 lead.
"I said guys you have two teams that know each other, two teams that play extremely hard," Willard said. "I thought that was a typical Big East Tournament game...I think both teams made some great plays and they made the last one."
The tip-in from Wideman was very reminiscent of Josh Hart's go ahead tip-in from the semi-finals against Villanova last year.
On the bright side, Desi Rodriguez and Ismael Sanogo both came off the bench for the Hall. Both players had been dealing with ankle injuries. Sanogo came off the bench and scored 12 first half points, including two three-pointers, however he did not score in the second half.
Rodriguez totaled eight points in 16 minutes off the bench. "I knew Desi would probably only be able to play in the first half," Willard said. "Because sitting at halftime, his foot was going to get cold. I thought both guys gave us a really good lift, especially Ish in the first half, the way he shot the basketball."
The good news is that Seton Hall is not a bubble team. They will be in the NCAA Tournament when the field of 68 is announced on Sunday.
"I'm going to look at the positive side for it," Willard said. "And that's the first time we're going to have a chance to get some rest going into the NCAA Tournament."
The Pirates will have at least a full week off before their first round game on either Thursday or Friday.
"I think by the time Thursday or Friday comes, it will be three full weeks for Desi, getting those guys back healthy. And the way the young guys are playing, I like where we're at."
The Pirates await their matchup and location which will be announced on Selection Sunday. Tune into 89.5 FM WSOU with coverage of the bracket reveal beginning at 6 p.m.
John Pirsos can be reached at email@example.com.