Seton Hall’s magical run of 1989
It has been 30 years since the Seton Hall Pirates played Michigan in the NCAA basketball finals on April 3rd, 1989. Of course, the Pirates lost in overtime on a disputed call, but as the New York Post highlights, it was still a thrilling journey to get there.
Seton Hall, under coach P.J. Carlesimo, was the #3 seed in the West Region and breezed through with very little trouble. They beat Southwest Missouri State and Evansville in the first two rounds, then upset the #2 seed, Indiana, 78-65 to make the regional final. The Pirates blew out UNLV behind Andrew Gaze’s 19 points. In the Final Four they had another easy win, crushing #2 seed Duke 95-78, despite Danny Ferry’s 34 points.
The championship game is considered one of the greatest finals of all time with Seton Hall facing off against another #3 seed, Michigan, who had upset #1 seed Illinois in the Final Four. The Pirates overcame a five point halftime deficit and the game was tied at 71 at the end of regulation. Seton Hall was up by three with less than a minute remaining, but a Michigan basket brought them within a point and they got a defensive stop. Seton Hall led by one with three seconds left when Pirate guard Gerald Greene was called for a controversial blocking foul against Michigan’s Rumeal Robinson. Robinson sank both free throws to give Michigan a one point lead. Seton Hall got one last desperation shot off by Daryll Walker but it glanced off the glass, giving Michigan its first NCAA basketball championship.
The 80-79 overtime final was attended by over 39,000 people in the Kingdome in Seattle. Seton Hall’s John Morton led all scorers with 35 points. The Pirates made the Elite Eight two years later, but haven’t advanced beyond the Sweet Sixteen since 2000.
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