Eventually it would bite Seton Hall. Some teams would pay for falling asleep at the start. Providence couldn't do it. Neither could DePaul. But Xavier, one of the league's biggest disappointments, was up to the task and spoiled the pirates' perfect homeland.
Seton Hall couldn't climb the mountain this time, could not survive another terrible start, and so the Pirates' 10-game winning streak – the longest since 1993 – ended early Saturday afternoon. The Musketeers built a lead of 24 points in the first half and held 10th place in the Prudential Center in Seton Hall (74-62).
When things got worse, starting shotguard Quincy McKnight suffered an apparently left knee injury at the end of the second half and had to be stopped from the floor. In the pre-season, the all-American Myles Powell continued to struggle from the field and scored only nine points in the 3-of-14 shooting. Tyrique Jones owned Seton Hall with 19 points and 18 rebounds and Naji Marshall with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Seton Hall (16: 5, 8: 1, Big East) scored the first basket of the game with a Myles Cale jump shot, and from then on everything went wrong. The next points came at 6:03 am on a Sandro Mamukelashvili ride. At this point, Xavier was already 14 points ahead and it was going to get worse. The lead rose to an impressive 30-6 after a Quentin Goodin layup. The building felt like a library. This was not the team that had seen it all year round.
At one point, Seton Hall was 2-18 from the field while Xavier made 12 of his first 17 attempts to shoot and scored 18 of the game's first 21 rebounds. It was complete domination. Willard took three breaks, switched to other players and new lineups, but nothing worked until Rhoden lit them.
The pirates closed half well and woke up over the last 7:23 of the verse. After eight points in the second round, they went 17: 5 within striking distance (35: 23). Given Powell's 1: 7 shot from the field, Xavier made 51 percent of his attempts and beat Seton Hall 30: 9. It was not as one-sided as it could have been.
The mid-term deficit was nothing new to Seton Hall, who caught up to victory twice against St. Johns and Butler in eleven of their 21 games after a break from double-digit deficits. Rhoden's 3-point game at the start of the second half quickly put Seton Hall into single digits, but Xavier – especially Marshall and Jones – had an answer for every mini-run.
When the pirates were within eight, Xavier replied with four even points to successive Tyrique Jones baskets. When it was seven, the Musketeers tumbled again four times in a row. Seton Hall could not overcome the hump and Kyky Tandy iced over with a 3-pointer to move the lead back to 14:14 to the left.