Seton Hall rallies past Indiana State late to capture NIT championship

INDIANAPOLIS — Dre Davis scored on a layup with 16 seconds left Thursday night to cap Seton Hall’s decisive late run, giving the Pirates a 79-77 victory over Indiana State and their first NIT championship since 1953.

Seton Hall (25-12) scored the final nine points in a battle between two No. 1 seeds to erase a 77-70 deficit.

Davis finished with 18 points in Indianapolis, his hometown.

Dre Davis, yelling with joy, and his Seton Hall teammates celebrate after its 79-77 NIT championship win over Indiana State. Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Al-Amir Dawes led the Pirates with 24 points and Kadary Richmond had 21 points and 13 rebounds in their fifth straight win at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Dawes was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as coach Shaheen Holloway had another successful postseason run in Indianapolis.

He led Saint Peter’s into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 with wins over Kentucky and Murray State two years ago in Gainbridge Fieldhouse — before beating Purdue in Philadelphia to reach the Elite Eight.

Isaiah Swope scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half to lead the Sycamores (32-7), who fell one win short of claiming their first national postseason title since the 1950 NAIA championship and one win short of the school’s single-season record set by the 1978-79 NCAA Tournament runnerups led by Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

Al-Amir Dawes, who scored a game-high 24 points, celebrates during Seton Hall’s 79-77 NIT championship-clinching win over Indiana State. Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway pumps his fist after a good play during the Pirates’ NIT championship-clinching victory. Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Larry had 18 points, a career-high four 3 pointers and six assists. Jayson Kent and Robbie Avila each scored 13 points.

Indiana State’s frenzied home-state crowd, clad largely in the school’s powder blue and alternate royal blue, was ready to celebrate when Swope’s 3 gave the Sycamores a 77-70 lead with 2:50 to go.

Dre Davis, who scored 18 points, drives on Xavier Bledon during Seton Hall’s NIT title-clinching victory. Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

But Seton Hall pitched a shutout the rest of the way, tying the score on Dawes’ 3 with 57 seconds to go and took the lead on Davis’ layup.

Indiana State had three chances to win it in the final 8.4 seconds, but Swope had two 3s blocked and Ryan Conwell’s desperation 3 from 35 feet came up short.

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