NEW YORK (AP) — Fuquan Edwin didn’t get much sleep. He did get another chance.
The senior swingman from Seton Hall made one of the mistakes in the Pirates’ final-minute collapse against Oklahoma in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Twenty-four hours later he made the big play in Seton Hall’s 68-67 victory over Virginia Tech in the third-place game Saturday night at Barclays Center.
“It was killing me all night. I couldn’t sleep. I knew I should have been smarter and I was beating myself up,” said Edwin, who scored seven of his 18 points in the final 27 seconds, “I told Coach I was sorry and he picked me up and said it wasn’t our fault. I needed to hear that.”
Whatever coach Kevin Willard said it worked in helping turn around a terrible game-end situation into a successful one.
“These guys really bounced back. The way we lost last night was tough. I said ‘Hey, we’re going to be on this situation a lot. We played 39 good minutes last night and we had to play 40 tonight,’” he said. “We didn’t play well offensively but we did defensively and we got the win.”
Edwin’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds left gave the Pirates (4-2) the lead for good at 62-61 and he and Sterling Gibbs combined to go 6 for 6 from the free throw line the rest of the way to offset two 3-pointers by Ben Emelogu of the Hokies (3-3).
“Tom Maayan made a great read on that play,” Willard said of the driving pass that set up Edwin’s go-ahead 3-pointer. “Fu just did what he’s done for four years, he made a big shot.”
Brian Oliver had 11 points and Eugene Teague had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pirates, who shot just 32.3 percent (20 of 62), including going 8 of 30 from the field in the second half (26.7 percent). They finished with as many 2-pointers (10) as 3-pointers. They were 10 of 26 from 3-point range, just 3 of 11 in the second half.
Gibbs, the Pirates’ leading scorer at 18.8 points a game and who had a career-high 26 in the semifinals, missed all eight of his shots from the field and had four points.
Jarell Eddie had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Virginia Tech while Emelogu had 18 points, 12 on 3-pointers.
The Hokies shot 40.4 percent (23 of 57) and were 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.
“We took the lead in the second half and didn’t make the plays we had to,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “This is a tough, tough loss for us.
“This was definitely a game we should have won, could have won. What we learned is we have to make winning plays at both ends of the floor. We have to make those plays.”
Seton Hall was able to not only overcome the disastrous end to the semifinal loss to Oklahoma but a terrible start against Virginia Tech.
Seton Hall had a six-point lead with 32 seconds to play in the semifinal against Oklahoma only to see the Sooners close the game on a 7-0 run.
Things didn’t start any better against Virginia Tech as the Hokies scored the first eight points of the game on the way to leading by 10 points twice in the first half.
“It was just one of those starts,” Edwin said. “We started off slow. They pushed us and got the lead early. Coach call a timeout and told us to pick it up and we did.”
With freshman Jaren Sina hitting all four of his 3-point attempts the Pirates were able to take a 38-36 halftime lead.
“Sina comes off the bench and had naked looks we shouldn’t have given him,” Johnson said. “We can’t have that. It was just a defensive lapse by us.”
Willard said forward Patrik Auda, who averages 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds, would have a CT scan on the foot he injured in the loss to Oklahoma on Friday night.
“He got re-examined right before the game and the only good news is that the swelling went down a little bit,” he said. “I don’t want to sound optimistic because every time I do something bad happens. It looks like it won’t be the worst-case scenario. … Maybe a month and manage his minutes. It was a bad step and he jammed it. He’s a big guy and it’s a small bone.”