"I think the difference was our foul trouble, and our inability to capitalize on a couple of easy shots and free throws," Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill said. "Coming in to the game I was concerned that our young guys would make this a bigger game than it was, and I thought there was a lot of excitement and that took us out of our flow and character in the beginning."
In what was a bad day from the field for Rutgers, they did get huge contributions from freshmen guards Mike Coburn and Corey Chandler . Coburn, who has been named the National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com, led the team with 23 points, shooting a solid 7-14 including 3-4 from behind the arc, and almost completed the double-double with nine rebounds. Chandler went 5-12 from the field and 2-3 from three point range for 16 points.
"Mike Coburn and Corey Chandler showed a lot of maturity and leadership," Hill said. "They led the team and made plays in the second half to help us come back. That's a great step forward for those kids."
After a layup by senior guard Jamar Nutter gave the Pirates' a 67-61 lead, Rutgers would go on a 6-0 run that sent the game into the extra period. Junior forward J.R. Inman would pick up an offensive board off a shot by junior guard Anthony Farmer and hit a lay up to cut the deficit to four with 1:05 remaining.
Next trip down the court, Farmer missed a three pointer only to have the loose ball scooped up by junior forward Jaron Griffin who was fouled and nailed his two free throws.
Pirates sophomore guard Eugene Harvey, who finished with a game high 26 points, was then intentionally fouled by Coburn and missed the first shot of a one-and-one. Sophomore center Hamady Ndiaye grabbed the board and was fouled by junior guard Paul Gause with a chance to tie the game.
Ndiaye would go on to miss both attempts, Griffin then picked up the loose ball and missed the put back, and Chandler came in and banked it off the glass to send the game into overtime.
Coburn started off the overtime period with a lefty floater in the lane to give Rutgers its first and only lead of the game. Farmer would hit two free throws to tie the game at 71 with 3:13 left and that would be it for the Knights scoring wise, as the Pirates would go on a 13-0 run to ice the game.
"We were in foul trouble and we had to go small which is something we don't like to do," Hill said. "They did a good job when we had to go small. With Hamady in there you can do things. But when we don't have him in there we can't play the same type of defense. It was a big concern when we had to take him out of the game."
It was all Seton Hall in the extra frame. The Pirates outscored the Scarlet Knights 17-4 shooting 4-5 from the field and 9-9 from the line. Harvey had eight points in the period, and senior forward Brian Laing and Gause accounted for the other nine.
"In any overtime game you have to look at the score, but we're built to defend and score," Hill said. "If the game gets away from you over a stretch, where they get seven or eight run-outs after we didn't score, then that will make things difficult for you. I thought our kids did a phenomenal job in the second half taking the game to overtime."
Seton Hall shot nearly 47 percent from the field for the game and a tad over 42 percent from three point range.
Harvey shot 7-14 from the field and 3-3 behind the arc to go along with his seven assists. Laing had 23 points on 9-16 shooting
"He's big, in transition attacking the basket and drawing fouls, he did a good job attacking," Coburn said of Laing's play tonight.
Hill said there are positives to take from the loss and that the team will continue to move forward.
"There's never a moral victory but I think we did good things in this game," he said. "The freshmen took another step and Hamady took another step. Being down nine at the end of the first half, being down six with 1:30 to go, making plays to put the game into overtime, those are steps in the process as you grow."
Rutgers next game will be on the road as they take on Louisville, who beat them 64-49 at the RAC, on Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.