Seton Hall, Dawes, NIT
Photo Credit: Charlie Wall

Seton Hall men's basketball headed to NIT Final

After their double-digit victory over Georgia in the semifinals, the Seton Hall Pirates Men's Basketball team is headed to the NIT Championship game for the first time since 1953.

In the win over Georgia, senior Al-Amir Dawes dropped 20 points and made 4-out-of-4 free throws. He has averaged 20.2 points throughout four NIT games. The young man from Essex County played his high school ball at the Patrick School in Hillside.

In the postgame press conference after the semifinal win, Dawes shed some light on what's been motivating him and the team to continue competing after they were not invited to compete in the NCAA March Madness tournament.

"Just to continue playing free-minded. Having a free mind out there, having fun with my brothers. Competing for the championship, for the championship trophy. Obviously, our group of guys didn’t want to be home like other teams. To get a chance to go play and go play for something is still huge and that’s what's got me going."

New Jersey Connections

Dawes is one of four players on the Seton Hall roster who hail from New Jersey. Those four players are: Dawes, who comes from Newark, Jaquan Harris, a guard, from North Brunswick, Elijah Hutchins-Everett, a center, from Orange and David Gabriel, a guard, from North Bergen.

Harris and Gabriel have played sparingly during the NIT, but Hutchins-Everett has averaged 12 minutes per game and 4.8 points and he contributed three points to the Pirates' semifinal victory. 

It's taken a complete team effort and a commitment to not give up on their season after being snubbed by the NCAA tournament for the Pirates to get to this NIT final. Four of the sixteen players on the Seton Hall team that have made it this far as the only team left in the NIT from the state are from the 'Garden State' and that's something that New Jerseyans can be very proud of.

After the game, Coach Holloway talked about how he and his players have committed to playing to win a championship after they were left out of the NCAA tournament.

"This is not about me, this is about them. I want these five seniors to go out with a bang. I just want to take a moment to give those guys their flowers. It would’ve been so easy for us to just put our heads down and mope because of what happened. But these guys, stuck with it, they stuck with me, I'm on them daily and they're coming out and we playing. I guess we're still showing the world that Seton Hall is a really good team."

Seton Hall will face Indiana State on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the NIT championship game and have the whole state of New Jersey behind them!

Anthony Paradiso
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