SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall came in winners two of their last three, the lone setback an overtime loss to Creighton. Butler entered in the midst of a five-game slide. The Bulldogs defeated the Pirates on January 2 in Indianapolis and Seton Hall was hoping to make the second time a charm, coming off a win Friday over Xavier, who also defeated the Pirates earlier in the season.
In a game so typical of Big East action and drama, the game went down to the final possession. Actually, the final shot, released just before the buzzer sounded. In the end, Seton Hall emerged victorious, 65-63, improving their conference record to 4-7. Butler is now 2-9 in league play.
First five possessions:
Butler: Turnover, field goal, turnover, turnover, field goal
Seton Hall: Field goal, missed FG, three-point FG, turnover, turnover
Leading 5-4 through the first 2:03, Seton Hall was utilizing the three-pointer early. At the first timeout, five of the Pirates’ eight field goal attempts have been dialed from long distance. They hit four of those first five. Butler went zone mainly, one must assume, to stop dribble penetration, leading to perimeter kickouts and open attempts from three. Butler gets into the lane and damage is done. The Bulldogs are adept at penetrating and dishing, usually to the likes of 6-foot-1 sophomore Tori Schickel, able to cause matchup problems for your defense.
At the half, Seton Hall led 39-32. Butler missed an attempt with five seconds remaining, which the Pirates rebounded, and rather than settle for a perimeter shot, made the extra pass to result in a Shadeen Samuels layup at the buzzer. In a 35-possession first half, Seton Hall had an outstanding 111 offensive efficiency. On defense, they limited Butler to 91.
The first four minutes of the second half were even, at 4-4. Seton Hall did forfeit a chance to expand the lead, coming up empty on a few possessions due to errors of execution. Butler very well could have looked at more than a seven-point deficit at the six-minute mark of the third quarter. The Bulldogs did not go away. During their five consecutive losses, the last three were by seven points or less. Coach Kurt Godlevske has the Bulldogs competing, especially on this afternoon.
Martha Kuderer came off the bench to make some valuable contributions today, especially early in the fourth quarter with two perimeter jumpers that kept Butler at bay.
Kaela Hilaire’s penetration and close shot kisses the glass and goes down, giving Seton Hall a two-point lead with 1.9 seconds left. Butler inbounded. Choosing for a game winning three, Sydney Buck fired from beyond the arc. It appeared to have eyes but rimmed out, as the Seton Hall faithful breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Possessions: Butler 69, Seton Hall 68
Offensive efficiency: Butler 91, Seton Hall 96
eFG%: Butler 45, Seton Hall 54
Free Throw Rate: Butler 29, Seton Hall 25
Offensive Rebound%: Butler 46, Seton Hall 36
Turnover Rate: Butler 30, Seton Hall 29
Leading scorers and EF:
Butler: Michelle Weaver 25 points, EF 34
Seton Hall: JaQuan Jackson 13 points, EF 18.
What Butler did well: Not go away. Several times, Seton Hall threatened to pull away, yet the Bulldogs remained resilient and never folded. Butler also full court pressured the Pirates into a high turnover rate.
What Seton Hall did well: Defend and give the effort. The Hall came off a tough win on Friday over Xavier and was ready today with a strong effort, especially on defense.
Butler led 30-22 on points in the paint and 24-21 off turnovers. Seton Hall outrebounded 35-29 overall, and led 15-6 in second chance points. Tori Schickel of Butler led all with 11 rebounds. She added 16 points for a 28 EF that could have been higher if not for five turnovers. Lubirdia Gordon of Seton Hall led all with seven turnovers. The senior center was a needed presence, on defense especially, inside for the Hall.
Martha Kuderer did not miss a shot. “She shot very well in practice this week,” Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella said of Kuderer. “We felt she earned the spot and some time, and she used the opportunity.”
“Exciting. It was a great crowd on National Women in Sports Day. Glad they came and they gave us added energy. The cheerleaders, dance team and band got the crowd energized, and that carried over to us. Glad for KK (Hilaire) and Martha. Martha especially stepped up and gave us a huge lift off the bench. KK made a great read on the last play to penetrate and finish. She has come off a great week in practice. We played hard on defense. Both teams played Friday night, but I am happy with how we responded on a day to prepare. Butler and ourselves are two young teams. We will be battling the next few years, but with a higher standing in conference at stake. Lubirdia hasn’t been feeling well. She gave us seven points, six rebounds and four blocks. She was a factor for us today, and all year she had given a great effort. As a senior, she wants to go out on a high note.” - Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella
“You can see how much we have improved. We play so much better together as a team, and we just came off beating two teams that beat us by a lot the first time around.” Seton Hall’s Martha Kuderer