WRITTEN BY JUSTIN WORSLEY
Jordan Theodore’s buzzer-beater layup finished Seton Hall’s late rally and forced the game into overtime as the Pirates topped St. Francis 75-71 in the season opener.
St. Francis (0-1) led by as much as 13 points in the second half until Seton Hall (1-0) came alive, going on a 12-3 run in the final 5:55 to send the game into overtime. In the bonus period, Theodore scored the final six points for Seton Hall all coming off free throws.
The Terriers got the ball rolling in the first half, building a 9-4 lead until the Pirates rebounded with a 12-0 run, highlighted by a strong layup by forward Herb Pope that tied the game, 9-9.
St. Francis fought back, however, going on a 12-0 run of their own in which point guard Dre Calloway scored four of his ten points. The Terriers would continue to pad their lead in the first half, relying on Travis Nichols, who scored nine of his team-high 25 points in the final five minutes of the first half to give St. Francis a 33-25 lead at halftime.
The lead would not stick as the Pirates opened the second half by going on a 7-2 run. St. Francis would take advantage on three consecutive missed shots by Theodore later on in the half to go on an 8-0 run of their own to extend their lead to a game-high 52-39.
With the Terriers up 59-50, Seton Hall began their game-tying rally. In the final six minutes of the game, the Terriers offense struggled, committing four turnovers and shooting just 1-for-5 from the field.
In overtime, Theodore gave Seton Hall an immediate lead, scoring on a layup and getting an extra point off a foul shot. Theodore finished the game with 25 points.
The Terriers continued to battle back, but they were held down by Seton Hall’s defense before being forced to foul in the final minute of the game.
St. Francis will continue their road trip on Wednesday when they travel to Lafayette for a 7 p.m. tip-off.