Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Top 25 Notebook: No. 5 Xavier upset by unranked Seton Hall

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)
(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Seton Hall has not made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006, but its odds are looking much better to be chosen on selection Sunday this year after a 90-81 win over No. 5 Xavier at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey Sunday.

Sophomore forward Desi Rodriguez posted a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Pirates (21-7, 11-5 Big East), while teammate Isaiah Whitehead scored 22 of his own in what was the highest scoring game of the season for Seton Hall.

Meanwhile, Xavier (25-4, 13-4 Big East) played from behind the entire game, as they were outshot and locked down defensively in the first half. While the Musketeers outscored Seton Hall by 10 in the second half, their efforts came up short after they scored just 26 points in the opening 20 minutes.

James Farr and Trevon Bluiett each scored 17 points for Xavier. The Seton Hall defense kept the score out of reach, as the Pirates won the rebounding battle and secured Xavier’s inside shots.

The Pirates shot 50 percent from the floor to clinch their eighth win in nine games.

Xavier will finish its regular season on Saturday against Creighton, while Seton Hall will visit Butler on Wednesday evening.

Ohio State stuns No. 8 Iowa

In a Big Ten thriller on Sunday that shook up the standings once again, unranked Ohio State narrowly held on to beat No. 8 Iowa 68-64 at home.

The Buckeyes (19-11, 11-6 Big Ten) trailed by six with just over four minutes to play, but ended the game on a 12-2 run to hand the Hawkeyes (20-8, 11-5 Big Ten) their third straight loss.

Junior forward Marc Loving came up clutch throughout the contest for the Buckeyes and led the team in scoring with 25 points. Keita Bates-Diop contributed with 19 points, six rebounds and four blocks as well, which included the game-saving block on Iowa’s Mike Gesell with five seconds remaining to keep Ohio State ahead by two.

With an even-powered offense and must-win mentality to keep their tournament hopes somewhat alive, Ohio State’s late-game surge overpowered the Hawkeye defense. The Buckeyes have now come out victorious in five of their last six as they continue to heat up heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

Iowa will visit No. 12 Indiana on Tuesday night, while Ohio State will visit No. 2 Michigan State Saturday in its regular season finale.

Pitt Routs No. 15 Duke

After losing to Louisville on Wednesday in what was its fourth loss in the month of February, Pittsburgh had something to prove Sunday against No. 15 Duke (21-8, 10-6 ACC) team at home.

The Panthers stepped up to deliver a signature victory and coasted to a 76-62 win against the Blue Devils at Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Junior forward Jamel Artis led the charge for Pittsburgh (20-8, 9-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 17 points, while senior guard James Robinson contributed 14 points and seven assists. Robinson, starting his school-record 130th game and shined on both offense and defense, tallying a team-high 36 minutes played.

Pittsburgh’s defense was the main reason for their success against Duke’s high-powered offense, as they kept Duke’s shooting to a mere 37 percent. While Grayson Allen played efficiently as usual with 22 points, he was unable to lead a charge for Duke without an immediate offensive response from the Panthers.

After Luke Kennard’s 3-pointer to bring Duke within 10 points with just over 10 minutes left, the Panthers responded with an 11-0 run to all but seal the victory.

The Blue Devils will regroup and host Wake Forest on Tuesday night, and Pittsburgh will visit Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

Leo Stern can be reached at [email protected].

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    GlennMar 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    If Seton Hall gets by Butler they’re definitely going to the dance.