Seniors Lead Seton Hall to Win Over DePaul

Seton Hall, with a bid for the Big East Tournament on the line, leaned on a pair of seniors to help them come up with a crucial 73-71 win over the visiting DePaul Blue Demons on Saturday night before a crowd of 8,098 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Seniors Brian Laing (22 points on 8 of 14 shooting) and Jamar Nutter (15 points on 5-10 shooting all on three point attempts) would not let Seton Hall lose and made key basket after key basket in securing the win. Laing in particular was key for the Pirates. His jump shot in the lane with 16 seconds was the dagger that kept DePaul reeling. DePaul had a chance to tie the game on a Draelon Burns leaner in the lane but it would not drop as DePaul lost it's seventh of the last eight games.

"I thought the key performer in tonight's game was Brian Laing," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "His outside shooting really affected us and he seemed to always come up with the big shot. Seton Hall was also backed up by Jamar Nutter's five threes. I thought that both those kids were exceptional."

Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez concurred with Wainwright. "Brian Laing was terrific, he was exactly what you need your go-to senior to be," explained Gonzalez. "In a monumental game at the end of the year, when you're playing to get into postseason, when you're playing to stop a five-game losing streak, he stepped up when we needed him the most."

In what was anticipated to be a wild shootout, both teams did not disappoint. Both teams shot almost the same percentage. DePaul shot 51 percent while Seton Hall shot a smidge better at 51.9 percent. Both team scorched the nets from downtown as well. DePaul shot nine of 16 from three point range while Seton Hall shot 11 for 21.

Seton Hall played a solid first half while DePaul tried to play catch up. What was once a 10 point lead going to half, DePaul gained some momentum when Jabari Currie nailed a three at the buzzer to bring the margin to seven at half-time.

Laing opened up the half with a three pointer to make it a 10 point lead shortly after the break. From then on DePaul would try to battle back and for the most of the second half Seton Hall kept their distance from the Blue Demons. The Pirates built their biggest lead of 54-42 with 11:45 to go. DePaul, knowing what was at stake, did not quit and went on a slow but steady run of 29-17 to knot the game at 71 when Draelon Burns tied the game with two free throws.

But seeing this was Laing's night, there was no other ending fitting then him nailing the last shot. With the shot clock winding down, Laing rose above the smaller defender Cliff Clinkscales and calmly made a jumper in the lane for the decisive basket. Burns then missed his shot in the lane and Seton Hall corralled the rebound and two fouls later and with four seconds left, Eugene Harvey was fouled. He missed the front end of a one and one, but the ball was tipped around before Karron Clarke grabbed it with 1.5 seconds to go.

A desperation heave from Clarke to Dar Tucker went for naught as the ball was deflected and time ran out for the Blue Demons.

Bench play was what kept DePaul in the game as Will Walker and Clarke carried the Demons in the second half. Walker nailed all five of his three point attempts and finished with a team high 20 points while Clarke added 14 points on six of seven shooting.

After the game Wainwright had a lot of praise for Walker. "He has been terrific for us, he's a young kid who has really accepted his role," discussed Wainwright. "He has been our most consistent player since January."

DePaul has played some inspired ball in the last two games with both the Connecticut game on Tuesday and tonight's game going down to the wire.

"We have played this way the entire year," Wainwright remarked about the inability to close. "There have been very few games this year that we have put an entire 40 minute game together. I applaud my guys for being there until the end."

Wainwright would not let his team hang their heads, and even with the loss DePaul is still holding down the 12th spot in the Big East standings. Wainwright wants to approach the last four games with a clean slate.

"The reality of it is that the next game is the first game of the rest of the season," Wainwright concluded.

DePaul will now come home for two home games, the first against West Virginia on Wednesday, followed by Notre Dame on Sunday before going on the road again for the two final games of the regular season.

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