NEW YORK — There was no masking the importance of what had transpired, of what the moment meant, of the opportunity grasped.
Dan Hurley and his Rhode Island Rams entered Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the Preseason NIT with a guaranteed date against No. 20 Seton Hall. Atlantic 10 versus Big East. Mid-major against major conference. National television. Thanksgiving Day.
“My teammates were definitely able to find me when I was open. I was able to knock down shots but I was also being aggressive,” Terrell said. “These guys know that I just want to win and they’re right behind me. So I’m just confident going into every game (because) I know I have a lot of support.”
Following Terrell’s layup, Seton Hall inbounded the ball to Carrington, who raced up court but lost his dribble and the Pirates were unable to recover the loose ball before the buzzer sounded.
“You have a player you trust in Khadeen, you let him go make a play,” Kevin Willard said. “Sometimes you have to let your senior guard try to go make a play towards the end of the game.”
Trailing by nine at halftime, Seton Hall outscored Rhode Island 27-17 in a 14:06 span to take the lead at 72-71. Carrington made two free throws with 5:54 left to give the Pirates their first lead since his jumper 5:09 into the game.
Defense was both the cause and effect for Seton Hall’s turnaround. Specifically, the Pirates played defense in the second half after surrendering 60.7 percent (17 of 28) shooting from the field — including 77.8 percent (7 of 9) from 3-point range — -in the first 20 minutes.
“For us it’s a little bit more of a defensive mentality,” Willard said. “We were really flat defensively in the first half. I can’t figure it out. We’ve never given up 60 percent (shooting from the field). …For us I didn’t like our defensive intensity whatsoever.”
“We wanted to get a quick throw-in a little bit closer to the key for Jared,” Hurley said of the game-deciding basket. “Usually at the end of the game if you kind of watch these game situations, it’s usually a guy getting downhill making a shot, making a play. We just wanted to make sure we had the ball in Jared’s hands. It was as good a performance I think as you have probably seen this year.”
Seton Hall: The Pirates entered the game having yielded just 254 points-or an average of 63.5 points per game-in winning their first four games. Against Rhode Island, Seton Hall allowed 54 points in the first half and the Rams broke the 64-point barrier with 11:03 left in the second half on Jared Terrell’s 3 in front of the Rhode Island bench.
Rhode Island: The Rams authored an otherworldly offensive performance — in the first half. Rhode Island scored 54 points on 60.7 percent shooting. But college basketball is a two-half game and, in the second, Rhode Island only made 8 of 31 shots from the field.
Seton Hall Fell to 7-2 against Rhode Island
Rhode Island: The second of two games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center also marked the second time Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley coached against his alma mater. Hurley scored 1,070 points in five years at Seton Hall.
Seton Hall: Plays Vanderbilt in the consolation game Friday.
Rhode Island: Plays Virginia in the championship Friday.