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Seton Hall 84, Illinois State 80

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[November 25, 2014]  Seton Hall 84, Illinois State 80: Sterling Gibbs poured in a career-high 40 points as the Pirates captured the championship of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

Gibbs drained a stunning 10-of-14 shots, including 7-for-9 from 3-point range, to earn tournament MVP honors for Seton Hall (4-0) and tie a tournament record for most points in a game with Ionaís Lamont Jones in 2012. Isaiah Whitehead scored a career-best 18 points and dished out six assists while Jaren Sina added 11 points.

Bobby Hunter came off the bench and scored a personal-high 23 points before fouling out for Illinois State, which was trying to become the first team from the Missouri Valley Conference to win the Paradise Jam. The Red Birds (2-2), who trailed by as many as 21 points, also received 14 points from DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.

 

After an extended stretch of playing man-to-man, the Red Birds shifted back to a 2-3 zone to create turnovers and that helped them crawl back into the game. Illinois State came within six points five times in the final 1:02 but Seton Hall hit 8-of-10 free throws during that span to close out the win.

Seton Hall raced out to a 30-9 lead aided by hitting six of its first seven 3-pointers, led by Gibbs, who connected on 4-of-5 from long range in the first half. The Pirates torrid shooting forced Illinois State to abandon its 2-3 zone, but Seton Hall became hesitant offensively and the Red Birds cut the lead to 34-25 with 1:40 left.

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GAME NOTEBOOK: Joining Gibbs on the all-tournament team was teammate Desi Rodriguez, Akoon-Purcell, Old Dominionís Trey Freeman, Clemsonís Damarcus Harrison and LSUís Jordan Mickey. Ö Illinois State was 3-for-20 to start the game and trailed 41-27 at the half. Ö Seton Hall is the fourth consecutive Big East team to advance to the Paradise Jam championship game.

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