- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Even without suspended point guard Sterling Gibbs, struggling Seton Hall went into its final possession against 11th-ranked Creighton with a chance to win.

Fuquan Edwin’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the backboard, and the Pirates lost 72-71. It was their fourth loss in five games.

“It’s very frustrating, but we’ve got to stay positive and take all the positives out of this game,” Edwin said. “We fought hard to the last second, and that’s what we’ve got to take from it. We just played the 11th team in the country. They’re a good team, and we battled.”

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the absence of Gibbs was no factor, even though Gibbs had started 20 games and is the Pirates’ second-leading scorer. Willard said Gibbs was suspended for the game because of an attitude issue, and he could be back for Tuesday’s game at DePaul.

“Sterling is flying into Chicago right now, and I’ll sit down with him tonight and we’ll figure out if he wants to have the same attitude these guys have and he’ll be back,” Willard said. “It’s quite simple.”

The Pirates (14-13, 5-9 Big East) outrebounded the Bluejays 34-20 and outhustled them at times, and they were able to stay in the game until the end because Creighton missed five of its last six free throws.

“For us to miss free throws and turn it over at critical times is not who we are,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “But we still found a way to win, and it looks just as good on that side of the column as any of the other ones.”

Doug McDermott had 29 points to become one of the top-10 scorers in college basketball history, and Grant Gibbs added a season-high 16 points as the Bluejays (23-4, 13-2) took a half-game lead over Villanova in the Big East standings.

McDermott made a free throw late in the second half to pass Alfredrick Hughes for 10th on NCAA all-time scoring chart. McDermott now has 2,917 points, and he’s on track to pass Danny Manning and Oscar Robertson by the end of the regular season.

Edwin had 21 points to lead the Pirates, and 6-foot-9, 270-pound Eugene Teague presented a matchup problem and finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 11 rebounds.

With 21 seconds left and Creighton leading 72-69, McDermott, an 89 percent foul shooter, missed two in a row during the same trip to the line for the first time since the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

Austin Chatman fouled Edwin on the other end, and Edwin made both free throws to make it a one-point game with 8.2 seconds left.

McDermott lost the ball under the basket after taking the inbound pass, and Wragge picked it up and got fouled with 4 seconds left. Wragge, 86 percent from the line, then missed two free throws in a row for the first time this season to give the Pirates time for a potential winning shot.

Jaren Sina started in Sterling Gibbs’ place and had five points and three assists.

“They’re much different without Gibbs,” Greg McDermott said, “and in some ways that was more difficult for us because of their determination to throw the basketball inside as much as they did. It seemed like they haven’t given teams as steady a diet of Teague as they did us.”

Seton Hall came most of the way back from a 10-point deficit early in the second half. Edwin’s pull-up jumper trimmed Creighton’s lead to 64-63 with 5:45 left. That was the Pirates’ last field goal, but they made all eight of their free throws the rest of the way.

“It’s frustrating at times to lose,” Sina said, “but at the same time, I just think we’ve got to continue to keep getting better and prepare for the Big East tournament.”

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