TEMPLE MEETS ITS DOOM UNDERSTUDY LIFTS SETON HALL PAST NO. 2 OWLS
By ALLEN WILSON
With its best player sitting in a wheelchair, Seton Hall needed someone to rise and shine.
Enter Ty Shine, who played the game of his life when the Pirates needed it the most.
The backup point guard scored a career-high 26 points, including the decisive three-pointer with 18.9 seconds left in overtime, to lead 10th-seeded Seton Hall to a stunning 67-65 victory over second-seeded Temple on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA East subregional before 19,351 at HSBC Arena.
The Pirates (22-9) are the first team to win consecutive overtime NCAA Tournament games since eventual national champion Louisville in 1980, and the first to do so since the inception of the 64-team format in 1985.
Seton Hall will meet No. 3 seed Oklahoma State in the East Regional semifinals at the Syracuse Carrier Dome on Friday. This is the Pirates' first Sweet 16 appearance since 1992, when they lost to Duke. Third-year Pirates coach Tommy Amaker was an assistant on the Blue Devils' bench during that game.
"You can't imagine how excited we are to be in this position," Amaker said. "We happen to beat a team that probably had an opportunity to maybe win it all. All we asked for was an opportunity to be there in the end. Our entire team battled and played their hearts out."
This game caps an unbelievable first weekend in the NCAA Tournament, which saw three No. 2 seeds (Temple, St. John's and Cincinnati) and two No. 1's (Arizona and Stanford) go down.
But this game might have been the most improbable upset of all.
Seton Hall lost starting point guard Shaheen Holloway eight minutes into the game when he suffered a severely sprained left ankle on a driving layup as the Pirates began to rally from an early 14-3 deficit.
Amaker quickly turned to Shine, who was no stranger to this situation. The 6-foot sophomore started eight games, including a couple when Holloway was hurt.
That experience paid off as Shine played with the poise of a fifth-year senior. He made 9 of 15 shots and hit seven three-pointers, three more than his previous high. He also dished out five assists and committed just two turnovers in 37 minutes.
"I just wanted to step up today when I saw Shaheen go down," Shine said. "I was going to come in and play hard, regardless of how I came into the game. When I came in, we were pretty down. I was just ready for my opportunity and ready to take my shots when they were there."
X-rays on Holloway's ankle were negative, according to a tournament spokesman. According to team orthopedist Dr. Greg Gallick and team trainer Sheila Noecker, Holloway should be ready for Friday's game, indicating to The Record of Hackensack in the locker room after the game that the injury should heal in time. He was to be reevaluated this morning.
"Last year when I got hurt, Ty stepped up, and he did the same thing today," Holloway said. "It seems like whenever anyone on this team goes down, someone else steps up and takes over. The team just rallied. It was a tremendous game. I am so proud of everybody."
Guard Rimas Kaukenas, who finished with 18 points, embraced his fallen teammate after the game. Kaukenas said just having Holloway on the sideline was an inspiration to the players.
"We were into this thing for Shaheen," Kaukenas said. "We owe him because he really helped get us to this position. I was really excited that we could definitely give him something back."
Temple (27-6) had to play overtime without All-American point guard Pepe Sanchez, who fouled out with 37 seconds left in regulation.
But forward Mark Karcher kept the Owls alive with a three-pointer in front of his bench with 24.7 seconds left to send the game into overtime tied at 57.
A Karcher free throw with 41.9 seconds left in overtime capped a 6-0 run that gave Temple a 65-64 lead. But after a timeout, Shine got loose at the top of the key and knocked down a rainbow jumper over Karcher's out-stretched hand.
Lynn Greer threw the ball away on Temple's next possession trying to get the ball inside to forward Lamont Barnes.
Greg Morton's free throw with 4.8 seconds left provided the final points and the Pirates stormed the court when Greer's desperation three near halfcourt bounced off the rim as time ran out.
"Sure, we are disappointed," said Sanchez, who had two points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals and no turnovers in his final college game. "Myself, I feel very empty."
Seton Hall shot only 43.1 percent from the field, but it blistered Temple's matchup zone by making 15 of 30 three-pointers. The 15 threes set an East Regional and HSBC Arena record. Both teams combined for a region-record 28 treys and their combined 62 three-point attempts tied an overall tourney record.
"It's hard when you feel you've done your very best, and kids are shooting 25-footers and making them," said Temple coach John Chaney, who failed in another bid to get beyond the regionals. "The kid (Shine) that made the three with Mark's hand in his face, I mean my God, they were tough shots and they made them."
Other than great shooting by Seton Hall, Temple's doom came at the free throw line, where it went 6 for 18. Karcher, who led all scorers with 27 points, was just 3 of 8 at the line.
The Owls also got outrebounded by the smaller Pirates, who held a 20-8 advantage in the first half and a 40-35 edge overall.
"I think we came together and demanded that we box out because they are big guys," said Darius Lane, who had a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 16 points. "We tried our hardest to box out and get every loose ball. We dug deep and pulled together. That's why we won."