NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jordan Theodore scored a career-high 25 points, including a clutch shot with 1.1 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, and Seton Hall defeated St. Francis (N.Y.) 75-71 in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night.
Herb Pope scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Seton Hall, which earned its 11th season-opening victory in the last 13 years. The Pirates trailed for most of the game, but scored the last six points of the contest to send it to overtime, then took control in the extra session.
Theodore hit the game-tying shot and made a three-point play to start the overtime, giving the Pirates the lead for good and their first lead since 8:59 left in the first half. Haralds Karlis had a breakaway dunk and two big free throws in overtime.
Travis Nichols led the Terriers with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Ben Mockford added 13 for St. Francis, which lost for the fourth straight year in their first game.
Seton Hall suffered through a dismal first half, shooting just 27 percent from the floor (eight-for-29) and failing to make any of their 3-point attempts (0-for-7).
The Pirates held a 16-9 lead with 9:54 remaining in the first half, but the Terriers then went on an 8-0 run to take the lead at 17-16. P.J. Santavenere and Stefan Perunicic each nailed a 3-pointer in that stretch. St. Francis then increased the lead to hold a 33-25 at the half.
Nichols had 11 points at intermission, while Pope had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Pirates got to within 42-38 with 15:21 remaining in the game on a lane jumper from Theodore, but then the Terriers went on a 10-1 run to push the lead to 52-39 with 12:33 remaining, capped by a long 3-pointer by Mockford, who canned two treys during that span.
Seton Hall trimmed the lead to 56-50 on a rebound basket by Fuquan Edwin, but the Terriers came right back on a 3-pointer from Perunicic to make it 59-50 with six minutes left.
Pope scored four straight points on moves down low to cut the lead to 59-54 with 5:01 left. Freshman Aaron Cosby scored on a driving basket that brought Seton Hall to within 59-56 with 4:34 remaining.
However, Perunicic canned a clutch high-arching 3-pointer from about 26 feet out that gave the Terriers a 62-56 lead with 2:36 to play.
The Pirates scored two straight baskets in the closing minute, then had a chance to tie the game with 8.9 seconds left, but Theodore traveled.
The Pirates had one last possession with 4.9 seconds left and Theodore made amends, putting a soft shot off the glass that went in with 1.1 seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime.
The Pirates scored the first five points in overtime and held on from that point on.