They played like it.
They came in and quickly ran up a14-6 lead and looked as if they were going to run RU right out of the RAC.
Although the Knights were being out played by the Hall, Rutgers hung on with tenacious defense and key rejections by Herve Lamizana to keep themselves within five (20-15) with six minutes to go in the first half.
At that point, the Hall started to pull away again but a Ricky Shield's" three" and a Jerome Coleman "two" put RU right back into the game 24-20 with four minutes to go.
From that point on Rutgers and the "Hall" just battled it out until a Ricky Shield three pointer (after a fabulous save by Lamizana) cut the Seton Hall lead to three points with two minutes to go in the half. One more score gave the Pirates a five point lead at the end of a ruggedly fought first half.
At the half Ricky Shields led Rutgers with 6 points. Jerome Coleman had 5. The Knights had used sheer intensity on defense to keep the game close despite hitting only 2 of 11 shots from three point range and only 10 of 34 shots overall.
The second half opened well for the Knights. Herve Lamizana got fouled taking a two to the hoop. He hit the foul shot to get the score back to a two point differential. After forcing a turnover, RU got the ball back and Kareem Wright hit one of two foul throws to shave the Seton Hall margin to one.
After exchanging scores Rutgers finally took a 34-32 lead on Ricky Shields' third "three" of the game.
After Seton Hall came back to retake the lead both sides played and incredible stretch of hustle defense for the next several minutes. Herve Lamizana was almost single-handedly keeping the Knights in the game with seven blocks until a Juel Wiggin layup put the Knights back out in front. It was Rutgers 37, Seton Hall 35 with 12 minutes to go in the game.
At that point, Herve Lamizana went to the bench after a foul by Herve on Seton Hall's Kelly Whitney almost turned into an ugly scene. The Knights managed to hold on nonetheless. At the ten minute mark RU held a four point lead, 42-38. At the eight minute mark Herve re entered the game with the Knights still leading by two. A few seconds later Adrian Hill hit two clutch free throws to get the Knight lead back up to 4 at 46-42.
It looked like a season saving victory over the Pirates was at hand.
Now it was the Hall's turn to fight back. After some made foul shots, an Andre Barrett three pointer gave the Hall a one point lead and the Knights and the Pirates started trading one point leads with the clock winding down. At the 3:15 mark a Herve Lamizana foul shot knotted the game at 52. That would be the "last hurrah" for the Knights.
Seton Hall scored the next four points on free throws by Kelly Whitney and a jumper by Andre Sweet. Gary Waters called a time out with two minutes remaining. Coming out of the time out a quick steal by Andre Barrett led to a Kelly Whitney layup to increase "the Hall's" lead to six with a minute to go.
Herve Lamizana missed a three and Rutgers was forced to foul with 46 seconds left. Andre Barrett hit both free throws to give Seton Hall an eight point lead with 30 seconds to go. Rutgers fouled but it was too late. Seton Hall canned the shots they had to.
Final Score Seton Hall 62, Rutgers 52.
Ricky Shields led the Knights with 11 points. Adrian Hill had 9. The Knights hit .176 from three point range for the game on 3 of 17 shooting.
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