“I’m going to look at the positive side for it,” Kevin Willard said. “And that’s the first time we’re going to have a chance to get some rest going into the NCAA Tournament. We’re going to take the rest. We’re going to use it to practice and get a little sharper on some things that we’ve been doing well at.”
Seton Hall led for virtually the entire game on Wednesday night but Tyler Wideman’s tip-in with three seconds gave Butler a 75-74 win. It was the last of five lead changes in the final 70 seconds.
Seton Hall will wait for Selection Sunday instead of playing Villanova in what would have been a rematch of last season’s Big East semifinal.
The Pirates led 27-13, and then spent most of the game fighting to hold the lead, which they did until the final minutes. Butler’s Kamar Baldwin was the star of the night with 32 points. Kelan Martin scored 17, while Sean McDermott and Tyler Wideman added 10 apiece.
Khadeen Carrington scored 17 points, dished out seven assists and hauled in six rebounds. Carrington also had the go-ahead three-point play for the Pirates, which have them a short-lived 74-73 lead.
“I’m not sure what changed,” Carrington said about squandering a 14-point lead. “It’s just that they went on their run. We had our runs and they just had the last run.”
Angel Delgado finished with 13 points and nine rebounds although the big man wasn’t on the floor when Butler went ahead in the final seconds on Wideman’s offensive rebound and put back. Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan noted the team defense on Delgado, who was quiet for most of the night.
“Thought we did an unbelievable job in the post on Delgado,” Jordan said. “Our big guys fought their tails off and our help side was really good to protect the paint.”
Ismael Sanogo scored 12 points off the bench for the Pirates, but none after halftime. Seton Hall hit seven threes in the first half, but only two in the second.
It was the first win for Butler in the Big East Tournament and they made it a classic.
“Carrington stepped up made a big play, and Powell stepped up and made a big play,” Jordan said. “We know they’re capable of that. But they responded and that stands out in terms of what we’re proud of as a staff.”
After Seton Hall took the lead with 11.6 seconds left, Butler went down the court without using a timeout.
“They didn’t have timeouts,” Jordan said. “So the big thing was I didn’t want them to be able to set their defense. We had time at the line. Paul came in and made sure he communicated what we were running to everybody.”
Butler has showed off their comeback ability before. They opened the Big East schedule with a 20-point comeback against Georgetown.
Seton Hall will now look to win an NCAA Tournament game after several first round exits in the Delgado-Carrington-Rodriguez era. At least they have a few extra days to rest now.