Seton Hall is still alone on the Big East.
With an early 10-point deficit, the specter of a worst third defeat in a row in the season, and loss of sole control over the conference for the first time in six weeks, Pirates # 16 had an exciting 74-72 win over No 21 butlers on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center on Sandro Mamukelashvili's summer beater and a game in front of Creighton for first place in the Big East.
Another 0.6 seconds, Quincy McKnight threw a punch down under Butler's basket and found the large left, whose gentle shot rolled in and caused chaos in the square for the once-collapsed pirates.
After Sunday's game against St. Johns, Seton Hall (19-7, 11-3 Big East) ends the regular season with three games against ranked teams, including the Creighton final.
A month before the NCAA tournament began, head coach Kevin Willard felt a threat to Seton Hall's long-awaited run.
"We currently have some people with bad attitudes, to be honest," said Willard after Saturday's loss in Providence. "If you have a bad attitude and sulk and complain that you don't play enough time, but your team is 10-2, you have problems."
Seton Hall seemed ready to end its slow starts, but Butler quickly took control and led for more than 17 minutes in the first half.
Myles Powell, who ended up with 16 points for the pirates, was unable to attempt a shot in the first six minutes of the game and scored two points in 10 minutes. The Bulldogs meanwhile took control of top scorer Kamar Baldwin, who scored his first three shots and went halfway with seven points, five assists and no turnover.
Butler took a number of defensive rounds at Seton Hall and scored eight of his first twelve shots while he had little trouble penetrating the paint. While Seton Hall endured a drought of over four minutes without scoring a field goal, Butler took a 22-12 lead in the middle of the first half. Bryce Golden, who averaged 8.2 points, put 12 for the Bulldogs in the first half (19-7, 7-6).
Powell, who opened the 2: 9 from the field, was not alone in his offensive fights. The pirates only hit one of their first seven 3-hand attempts and went 33 percent off the field in the first half while recording four assists and seven sales. Although Seton Hall was dominated for almost the entire half, he was only between 34 and 28 in the break.
Butler, who was 15-1 at the halfway point of the season, was unable to extend his advantage, leaving the crowd hanging around. The building finally felt full when McKnight's 3-pointer lowered the pirate deficit by 11:49 to 44-43. Just 31 seconds later, Powell drilled a fadeaway jumper to give Seton Hall the first lead since the first minute.
The tug of war continued. Powells Drive broke a tie with 7:09, Seton Hall's seventh consecutive shot. Golden tied it up again a minute later. Baldwin hit two free throws. Then Romaro Gill did. Momentum was part of Seton Hall when Gill threw an alley at 3:52. Then the Bulldogs took control when Baldwin ended the game a little over a minute later with a 3-point game.
After a Baldwin knight tied the game, McKnight, who ended with 18 points, drilled a 3-pointer with 1:51 to play. With Seton Hall two and 27.4 seconds before the end, McKnight scored two free throws. McKnight hit another pair by 19.4 seconds. But Sean McDermott came back to tie the game 7.4 seconds ahead of a 3-pointer.