PISCATAWAY — Shaheen Holloway said it best earlier this week: In the Rutgers-Seton Hall basketball rivalry, you throw away records. This game is about honor.

Rutgers is a heavy favorite in the Garden State Hardwood Classic on Sunday. Pirates brought honor.

Thanks to a clinic on defense and hustle, Hall held on for a 45-43 win, stunning the 8,500 Scarlet Knights fans who showed up for blood in the latest edition of the Garden State Hardwood Classic. Postgrad forward KC Ndefo earned Joe Calabresi MVP honors with 9 points, 8 rebounds and a block at the rim on Rutgers standout center Cliff Amarui with 1:10 left as the Pirates clung to a two-point lead.

Amarui’s block, which is five inches taller than Ndefo’s, marked the two-hour clash that produced the lowest total score in the series since 1947.

“I knew they were trying to get something to the basket,” Ndefo said. “It was an honor and a lock in what we have to do defensively. That’s what I thrive on, being a defensive dude.”

It marked the first away win for either side in this series since 2015 when Hall defeated Eddie Jordan’s struggling RAC side. The hosts took five in a row.

“Thanks to Seton Hall, they played harder,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiel said. “These rivalry games, since I’ve been here, they’ve been (decided) by a couple of points here and there, you know, regardless of what the record of either team has been. In a rivalry you have to come and they brought it and they deserved to win.”

Seton Hall Pirates forward KC Ndefo (13) is named the MVP of the Garden State Hardwood Classic against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Jersey Mike's Arena.

As the final buzzer sounded, Rutgers fans showered the court with rain because replays showed Ndefoe may have stepped on Seton Hall’s baseline in the final seconds, saving the ball from going out of bounds. Afterward, Pikiell and Rutgers players said they had seen no conclusive evidence of consistency. The performance is not subject to review.

The verdict lifted Seton Hall to 6-4 and dropped Rutgers to 6-4.

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