In a spectacular Saturday this past weekend, two New York-area college basketball teams hosted top 10 opponents. The Seton Hall Pirates, who play their home games at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, hosted the #6 Syracuse Orangemen in their last regular-season-area appearance in the Big East before they join the ACC next season. Over in the Bronx, Fordham hosted #10 Butler at Rose Hill Gymnasium. Unfortunately for the locals, though both games were competitive, both home teams went down to defeat.
Seton Hall was able to battle with a very talented Syracuse team that is projected to have at least two players in the NBA next season. Seton Hall led by as many as nine early, 21-12 with 11:16 to go in the first half after a three-pointer from Haralds Karlis, but a quick 17-2 run by the Orangemen gave them a lead they would not relinquish. Seton Hall cut the lead to four early in the second half, but got no closer, and the Orangemen were able to send their fans that were a part of the 13,569 in attendance home happy by closing out the game 72-64.
Brandon Triche led Syracuse with 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, while C.J. Fair notched a double-double with 19 points, while grabbing 11 rebounds. Michael Carter-Williams added 13 points and nine rebounds and James Southerland contributed 11 off the bench. Fuquan Edwin led Seton Hall with 21 points, while Eugene Teague added 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Earlier in the day at Fordham, the Rams battled the Bulldogs from Butler close all game, having a lead of six early in the first half on a Chris Gaston layup with 7:36 left in the first half. After the Bulldogs took a 30-26 lead into halftime, Fordham ran off the first nine points of the second half to take a 35-30 lead. Unfortunately f0or the Rams faithful, which included New York Knicks and ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, New York Yankees play-by-play announcer Michael Kay, and ESPN New York radio host Ryan Ruocco, the Bulldogs responded with a 16-2 run to give Butler the lead for the rest of the game, and the win, 68-63.
Rotnei Clarke led Butler with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Roosevelt Jones added 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Andrew Smith added 12. Chris Gaston, the only senior on Fordham who missed the previous seven games, led the Rams with 21 points. Travion Leonard had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Mandell Thomas added 12.
The Fordham Rams next host the Richmond after playing at George Washington Wednesday, while Seton Hall welcomes in another Top 25 team, Marquette this week.