"We liked our chances at home," Pope said. "After last week, ever since we got blown out by Syracuse [75-49, on Dec. 28], they punched us square in the mouth and we didn't like it. I watched what they did to us over and over for like 48 hours straight and it left a bad taste in my mouth. So I think we all decided that we had to be tough at home. We had to be the ones to terrorize the other teams when they play here, make them afraid to come here."
The first victim was West Virginia, which fell, 67-48, on Dec. 30.
Then came the Huskies. Jeremy Lamb had 19 points for Connecticut, which was playing its final game without coach Jim Calhoun, who is serving a three-game NCAA suspension. Niels Giffey was the Huskies' only other player in double figures with 11.
Associate head coach George Blaney ran the team in Calhoun's absence, and he picked up a crucial technical foul early in the second half for arguing with the officials on a non-call on a shot with his team down 10.
Theodore, who also had 11 assists, made both free throws and that seemed to get him untracked after missing his first seven shots in the game.
With the Pirates leading, 45-36, with a little more than 12 minutes to play, Theodore hit three three-pointers and Cosby added another in a 12-6 spurt that pushed the lead to 57-42 and put the game away.
By the final minutes, Willard cleared his bench and the fans at the Prudential Center were chanting "Over-rated" at the young Huskies, who probably will be met by an unhappy Calhoun today. He will coach his first game on Saturday at Rutgers.
This game, however, was all Seton Hall after a slow start. That was remarkable, considering the Pirates had lost 25 of the last 27 games against Connecticut.
Seton Hall never trailed after closing the first half with a 16-3 spurt that Cosby ignited with a three-pointer and Pope finished by putting back his own shot at the buzzer.
Things didn't look good for the Pirates early. Lamb hit a three-pointer to cap a game-opening 11-2 spurt and Willard was forced to call an early timeout.
The next 16 or so minutes belonged to the Pirates. They outscored Connecticut, 33-11, and took a 35-22 halftime lead.
In other games *
At Wisconsin, Ryan Evans had an apparent game-tying three-pointer for the No. 18 Badgers overturned on an officials' replay review, allowing No. 10 Michigan State to hold on for a 63-60 overtime victory. Draymond Green had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won 14 straight. Jordan Taylor scored 28 points for Wisconsin (12-4, 1-2).
* At Fordham, Bryan Smith scored 22 points, and Chris Gaston added 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Rams (7-6) to a 60-54 win over No. 22 Harvard (12-2), which was led by Bryan Curry's 15 points.
* At Kentucky, freshman Anthony Davis had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and the No. 2 Wildcats (14-1) routed Arkansas-Little Rock, 73-51.
* At Ohio State, Jared Sullinger had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the No. 6 Buckeyes (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) routed Nebraska, 71-40.
* At Missouri, Kim English had 23 points and eight rebounds and Marcus Denmon added 20 points and eight boards as the No. 7 Tigers (14-0) beat Oklahoma, 87-49.
* At St. John's Russ Smith scored 17 points and No. 11 Louisville (13-2, 1-1 Big East) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 73-58 victory.
* At Florida, Erving Walker scored 23 points, Kenny Boynton added 20 and the No. 13 Gators (12-3) beat UAB, 79-61.
Legendary coach Gene Bartow died at the age of 81 after a 2-year battle with stomach cancer.
He spent 34 years as a head coach and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November 2009. He was the head coach at six universities, compiling a 647-353 record.
He directed Memphis State to the 1973 national championship game and went 52-9 in two seasons at UCLA, including another Final Four appearance, after the retirement of the legendary John Wooden.
He also coached at Alabama-Birmingham, Illinois, Valparaiso and Central Missouri State.
* No. 7 Missouri says forward Kadeem Green plans to transfer closer to home. The redshirt freshman, who is originally from Toronto, missed last season while he recovered from a torn Achilles' tendon suffered during his high school career at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte, N.C.