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Seton Hall gets needed signature win

Georgetown looked nothing like a team that has spent five weeks ranked in the Top 10 this season.

The ninth-ranked Hoyas came into Tuesday night's game as one of the Big East's -- and the country's -- best defensive teams. They weren't too shabby on the offensive end either.

Not in their 73-55 loss to Seton Hall.

"We thought we play pretty good perimeter defense, but we were atrocious tonight," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They hit some shots early and we got frustrated early and that frustration carried over to our offense. That was the crux of everything."

Jordan Theodore was nearly perfect in helping Seton Hall get the signature win it needed for its NCAA tournament resume. He had a career-high 29 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including making all five three-point attempts.

"We just needed this one so bad. I was jacked up for this game," said Theodore, who also had five assists and four rebounds. "I didn't want to blow another opportunity like we did my sophomore year when we were on the bubble. I have a little experience in being on the bubble. I want to dance so bad. I can taste it we're so close."

The Pirates (19-9, 8-8 Big East), whose best win this season was over Connecticut on Jan. 3, have two games remaining -- Rutgers and DePaul -- to solidify what would be their first NCAA tournament bid since 2006. Their RPI is in the high 30s and it never hurts to be from the Big East, which had a record 11 teams in the field last season.

Still, nothing is official until Selection Sunday.

"What could be better than having a game like this with your fate in your hands," said Herb Pope, Seton Hall's other senior. "We stayed solid. We shot terrific today."

Then he started talking about Theodore.

"That's my little brother and we're going out together," Pope said. "We moved one inch closer to our goal. He came out on fire."

Seton Hall shot 61.0 percent (25 for 41), the best against the Hoyas this season and only the third time any team shot 50 percent or better. Georgetown (20-6, 10-5) came in allowing 38.4 percent shooting this year.

Seton Hall finished 8 of 13 (61.5 percent) from three-point range, and that came against a team that was allowing 27.6 percent from beyond the arc this season.

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Around the rim

* Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 18 points, and No. 1 Kentucky rallied to beat Mississippi State 73-64 Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (27-1, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) trailed 41-28 at halftime, but slowly climbed back to take their first lead at 63-62 with 4:11 remaining on a layup by Kidd-Gilchrist. They never trailed again, winning their 19th straight game.

* Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and Kansas State upset No. 3 Missouri 78-68, the Wildcats' second win this season over the Tigers.

Kansas State (19-8, 8-7 Big 12) led 40-30 at halftime and by 16 points in the second half after a twisting McGruder layup before a late run by Missouri (25-3, 12-3) got the Tigers within 63-60 with six minutes left.

* Robert Mansell scored 18 points and Binghamton held off Vermont 57-53 to win its first game of the season, snapping a 27-game losing streak and shedding the dubious distinction of being the only winless team in Division I.

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