Newark, N.J.: Sterling Gibbs scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as Seton Hall held off Kent State 78-76 on Wednesday night in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Gibbs, who sank 12-of-13 free throws, hit two free throws with 31 seconds to go, handing Seton Hall (2-0) a 76-71 lead. Kris Brewer, who scored a career-high 28 points to lead all scorers for Kent State (2-1), fouled out on the play that led to Gibbs’ two free throws.
Fuquan Edwin (19 points), Patrik Auda (15) and Brian Oliver (11) were the other Seton Hall players to score in double figures. Gibbs also had five rebounds and six assists.
Seton Hall held a large advantage at the foul line, sinking 32-of-43 free throws compared to 14-of-18 for Kent State.
Devareaux Manley’s 3-pointer with 21.4 seconds showing had cut the Kent State deficit to 76-74 before Jaren Sina’s foul shot made it 77-74 with 13.8 left for the Pirates. Manley then stepped out of bounds for a turnover with 9.2 to go before Oliver made one free throw for Seton Hall.
Kent State made one last gasp as Kellon Thomas drove to the basket, scoring as he was fouled with 3.0 on the clock. But his free throw banged off the back of the rim and the battle for the ball went out of bounds off Kent State.
After Brian Oliver made a 3-pointer to give Seton Hall a 64-54 lead with 8:14 left, Brewer went to work for the Golden Flashes by scoring eight points to fuel a 13-2 run. Brewer’s 3-pointer capped the burst and handed Kent State its first lead of the game at 67-66 with 5:01 to go.
Seton Hall regained the lead when Gibbs fed Edwin for a basket and then followed with two free throws and a fast-break layup to make it 72-71 for the Pirates with 2:57 left.
Seton Hall had three players hit for double figures in the first half to take a 42-33 lead into the break. Edwin drained 3-of-4 3-point tries to lead the way with 13 points for the Pirates, followed by Gibbs and Auda with 12 and 10.