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Seton Hall 64, Villanova 63

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NEW YORK — Guard Sterling Gibbs’ jumper from the top of the key at the buzzer gave Seton Hall a stunning 64-63 over No. 3 Villanova in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Guard Darrun Hilliard’s spinning layup in the lane with 11 seconds left had given top-seeded Villanova (28-4) a brief 63-62 edge.

Seton Hall (17-16) was led by center Eugene Teague, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Freshman guard Josh Hart came off the Wildcats’ bench to score 18 points.

Guard Fuquan Edwin’s jumper put the Pirates ahead 57-55, but a free throw and dunk from Hilliard in two straight possessions helped Villanova re-take the lead at 58-57 with 1:57 to play.

The Pirates fought off a huge run by Villanova, staging an 8-2 spurt to move ahead 55-50 with 4:49 to go. Teague, fighting a bad cold, scored five in the run.

The Wildcats went on a 16-0 run to take their first lead of the second half, 47-44, with 8:03 to play. Hilliard tied the score on a layup that put Villanova in the lead with a 3-pointer. Seton Hall went 7:15 without a basket before Edwin’s 3-pointer tied it at 47-47 with 6:59 to play.

Seton Hall, the eighth seed, was playing its second game in 16 hours. The Pirates defeated Butler 51-50 in the first round Wednesday night, but had fresh legs despite the quick turnaround.

Solid ball distribution was the recipe for Seton Hall’s 34-26 halftime lead. The Pirates had five players combine for six assists. Forward Patrik Auda was an interior forcer, connecting on 6 of 7 shots for 13 points.

Villanova made only seven of their 26 field goals which led to their lowest halftime score this season.

With the score knotted at 9-9, the Pirates used a 21-6 run to take a 30-15 lead with 7:19 left in the half. Seton Hall connected on three of its four 3-point attempts in the spurt.

NOTES: Villanova claimed its first outright regular-season Big East Conference title since 1982. … The Wildcats’ 16 conference wins are the most in school history and the 28 overall wins are also a single season best. … Both Seton Hall and Villanova have four players averaging at least 10 points a game this season. … Wildcats coach Jay Wright won his third Big East Coach of the Year award. He also claimed it in 2006 and 2009. … Seton Hall G Fuquan Edwin is one of only seven players in the history of the school to score over 1,500 points and have at least 600 rebounds. … Seton Hall played in its first Big East Conference tournament quarterfinal since 2003.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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