Rodriguez's layup lifts Seton Hall over No. 16 S. Carolina
NEW YORK (AP) After his team blew a four-point lead in the closing seconds, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard provided simple instructions.
Get the ball to Desi Rodriguez, and then get out of the way.
Khadeen Carrington set up Rodriguez for a tiebreaking a layup with 11.6 seconds left and Seton Hall beat No. 16 South Carolina 67-64 in the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
The Pirates went ahead when Rodriguez took an inbound pass from Carrington and drove along the baseline for the basket.
''(Willard) told me to look for Desi coming off the baseline,'' Carrington said. ''He had the big guy on him. I knew he could take him. I gave it to him and I spaced out. I just let him go.''
Seton Hall led 64-60 after a foul shot by Rodriguez with 1:49 left, but the Gamecocks rallied and tied it on two free throws by Justin McKie with 34.3 seconds remaining.
Willard said it was dead silent in the huddle when he called a timeout with 17 seconds remaining. That worked for him.
''It's not a democracy in timeouts,'' Willard said. ''There's definitely a dictatorship. Sometimes they get to say things - not with 10 seconds left after we just gave up a four-point lead. These guys do a good job listening for the most part. It was a pass to Desi and everybody get out of the way.''
After the layup, PJ Dozier missed a 3-pointer for the Gamecocks, and Myles Powell knocked down one free throw for Seton Hall (8-2).
''He almost gave me a heart attack,'' Carrington said of Dozier's missed 3-pointer.
The Pirates trailed by nine early in the second half before rallying. Carrington led Seton Hall with 21 points after missing his first five shots.
''They've got some tough, tough dudes that don't back down,'' Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said. ''They got a culture of winning that was kind of established last year with obviously the season they had and they just got us, plain and simple.''
Dozier scored 20 points for South Carolina (8-1), which shot 38.6 percent and was outscored 40-30 in the final 20 minutes.
Seton Hall: Free throws had proven difficult for Seton Hall at times. The Pirates entered Monday making 61 percent of their attempts but hit enough to stay within striking distance during the first half. A 15-of-25 showing in the second half nearly cost them.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks held an opponent under 40 percent shooting for the seventh time in nine games, but their lack of consistent offense down the stretch was their undoing.
Seton Hall: The unranked Pirates may get some consideration for the AP Top 25 next week thanks to a big win on a big stage.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks moved up three spots to No. 16 earlier Monday, their highest ranking since ending 1997-98 at No. 14. They'll likely slip back with the loss.
Seton Hall: Hosts Delaware on Saturday before facing former Big East rival Rutgers on Dec. 23 in its final nonconference game.
South Carolina: Visits South Florida on Saturday.