New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Sterling Gibbs buried a buzzer-beating jumper to carry Seton Hall to a 64-63 upset win over No. 3 Villanova in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
After guard Darrun Hilliard put Villanova ahead with a layup, coach Kevin Willard used his final timeout with 3.7 seconds remaining and mapped out the game-winning play.
Jaren Sina inbounded to Gibbs, who created space with a backward dribble before launching the game-winning 17-foot jumper from top of the key.
With the victory, Seton Hall advanced to the semifinal against the winner of St. John’s-Providence match Friday.
Center Eugene Teague recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards, Patrik Auda had 13 and Gibbs finished with 10 points as Seton Hall (17-16) erased bad memories of their two blowout losses to Villanova.
Seton Hall won despite a poor shooting performance by leading scorer Fuquan Edwin, who finished with just seven markers on 3-for-15 shooting.
With the loss, the Wildcats’ bid for a No. 1 spot in the NCAA tournament suffered a major blow. Josh Hart scored 18 points off the bench while JayVaughn Pinkston and Hilliard finished with 11 apiece for the Wildcats (28-4).
In the first half, the Pirates used a 21-6 run to take a 30-15 lead before settling for a 34-26 lead at the break. Villanova made only seven of their 26 field goals which led to their lowest halftime score this season.
The Wildcats regained their shooting touch in the second half, unleashing a 16-0 run to take their first lead of the second half, 47-44, with 8:03 to play.
The Pirates fought off a huge run by Villanova, staging an 8-2 spurt to move ahead 55-50 with 4:49 left in the game.