Tyrese Samuel is the only four-year member of the Seton Hall basketball program.
On Thursday, the basketball gods rewarded his loyalty.
The 6-foot-10 senior banked a 24-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Pirates to a 70-69 victory over Memphis in the quarterfinals of the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando, the Hall’s first signing victory under head coach Shaheen Holloway.
Samuel finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and mostly made four free throws in the streak, as Hall improved to 4-1 heading into Friday’s semifinal against Oklahoma (8 p.m., ESPN 2) .
Samuel said the play was designed as a 3-pointer for third-round guard Jamir Harris, but when Harris was covered he knew the outcome was in his hands.
“I knew it was going to be a bank shot (on the way out) but when I shot it I was like, ‘This might actually go in,'” he said. “It was a blur, and when he came in, I just stood there, I didn’t know how to react. It was surreal.
1-Samuel realizes this
During pre-season, Samuel said he was tired of hearing about his potential. This word has been thrown since its first year. Yes, he was lucky with the winner of the game. But he earned that opportunity by making four consecutive free throws in the stretch – which was not his forte in the past – and hitting the boards hard. . Four of his boards were offensive, most of anyone in the game.
“Happy for Tyrese,” Holloway said in his post-match radio interview. “I have to get Rese to score low. He bounced the basketball, however, I have to give him that. Made some big free throws, hit a big three, hope that helps his confidence, man.
Worth noting: Samuel does all of this as the only true big man in the Pirates rotation.
“I try to conquer the day, playing every day like I have a one-day deal,” he said. “I want to show people who I really am. All the hard work I put in, working on my free throws so I could make them in stride. In the past, my free throw percentage was not so good.
Personally, this felt food for Samuel – one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I feel like I’ve worked a lot over the past four years. I stuck with this program. I feel like I helped this program a lot. You know, with the four years I’ve been here, (to have a moment like this) was perfect timing.
2. Rotation is always the focus
Holloway is still tinkering with the rotation. He is still figuring out how to use Kadary Richmond, how to protect Samuel from reprehensible trouble, what combinations work best. There will be bumps. It was a start.
“We’re super talented,” Samuel said. “=Every game, it’s going to be someone different. I’m not going to say every game it’s going to be me. We have enough talent that everyone can share. This will make it difficult for us to defend.
3. Winner’s parenthesis
It cannot be overstated how important this was from a resume perspective. Memphis (2-2) came in with a ranking of 29 by analytics site Kenpom.com. Oklahoma turns 42n/a – another quality enemy. Nebraska, expected to lose Seton Hall-Memphis, is a lousy team destined for the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
“It was super big,” Samuel said. “We lost to Iowa, so winning this game means a lot to us. It’s another win on our resume.
Holloway: “I am super happy and super blessed. This team has been through a lot in the past seven months. This is just the beginning.”
Samuel on the post-match locker room: “It was a great energy. Everyone was jumping up and down. Coach Sha said, “Get ready for tomorrow.”
Samuel on Seton Hall Fan Attendance in Orlando: ” Very strong. Great turnout. We have many loyal supporters and former students. It was a great atmosphere. »
Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and college basketball since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 Voters. Contact him at [email protected].