Prudential Center-The Connecticut basketball team was back into action after a 17-day layoff due to Covid related issues. Before the stoppage, UConn (11-3 overall, 2-2 Big East beat Marquette 78-70 on the road on Dec. 21.
Seton Hall is coming off a 71-56 road victory Tuesday against Butler, looked rusty and a little out of sync in the first ten minutes of play being down 25-20 at the 7:54 mark.
Guard Kadary Richmond scored 27 points and Bryce Aiken chipped in 22 points and seven assists to lead No. 24 Seton Hall past UConn (10-4, 1-2) 90-87 in OT, Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center in front of a 10,977.
“I haven’t ever been in a zone like that,” Richmond said. “Today was the first day I broke out and got loose, and it felt good.”
The Huskies are now 6-3 at the Prudential Center since the building opened in 2007. UConn are 5-2 against the Pirates at the Rock, including a 69-58 win there last season.
“That was obviously his best performance of the year,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said about Richmond. “I don’t think we were prepared for him to take over the way he did. I don’t think he’s done that yet. We started trying to run the double-team late at him, he turned it over a couple of times. We were kind of waiting for him to come back down to Earth, but he never really did.”
UConn took a 41-37 lead into the break with Tyler Polley leading the way with 8 points. But the Huskies didn’t have an answer for Richmond and Bryce Aiken in the second half. Both teams shot better than 50.0% from the hardwood in a very close first half of play.
Jared Rhoden finished with 15 points and six boards to become the 47th player in history to record 1,000 career points in a Pirates’ uniform.
Seton Hall trailed 54-45 with 16:01 left when Richmond went to work in the paint, capped off by a deep 3-pointer that put them ahead 62-61 with 11:48 to go.
“When a guy is going like that, you have to give him the ball,” said Rhoden, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. “We’ve seen stretches in practice where Kadary’s taken over practice with his ball skills and playmaking ability, so for him to do it actually scoring the ball, it was a sight to see.”
With the game tied at 77 and coming out of a timeout with 32.9 seconds left in the game, UConn tried a pick-and-roll with point guard R.J. Cole and center Adama Sanogo. But Ike Obiagu, Seton Hall’s 7-foot-2 center, presence threw the timing off the play, Cole couldn’t hit Adama Sanogo and instead tossed up an air-ball.
Aiken missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Seton Hall led by four points in OT, but the Huskies rallied back and led 87-86 after a Sanogo jump hook with 45.7 seconds left. Richmond answered by backing down Isaiah Whaley for an inside hoop and foul (though he missed the free throw) to put the Pirates ahead for good.
Sanogo scored 18 points and had 16 rebounds for the Huskies. R.J. Cole chipped in 15 points before fouling out.
“We could have won any of those games,” Hurley said. “We could easily be sitting as a top-five team in the country right now if we closed out games a little bit better, or found a way to win these.
“But,” he added, “we’ve got to stop losing.”
UConn will return to Gampel Pavilion to play St. John’s Wednesday, Jan.12. 8:30 P.M. start time.
Seton Hall will be on the road to play DePaul on Thursday, Jan. 13. 5 P.M. on FS1.