(Myles Powell – @SetonHall MBB)
Seton Hall, led by a record-breaking night from Myles Powell, ran out the Georgetown Hoyas, 73-57, in the Big East quarterfinals, on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Hall controlled this one from the start, and led 53-28 at halftime.
Powell poured in 29 points in the first half on a superb 10-14 from the field, including 4-7 on three-pointers, with 3 assists, 3 steals, and a rebound.
This is a new Big East record for most points in the first half of a Tournament game, eclipsing the 27 that Doug McDermott put up in 2014.
The crowd got into it as the first half closed, as Powell scored the final 13 points for the Pirates to close it out, including three from behind the arc, and in the final seconds, soaked up the adulation of the crowd during a stop in play.
Powell, who finished with 31 points, said of how his teammates found him offensively, and everything just coming within the flow, “That’s the best part about my teammates. They’re always looking for me. They’re always cheering me on, my coaching staff, too. When you have a group of guys like that, that’s always behind you and pushing you forward, it’s a great feeling.”
Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard said of where this one ranks in terms of big performances from Powell, “This is going to sound crazy. That’s what I see every day. So I don’t think it’s any different. I’m surprised — I’ll be honest. I’m just as surprised we haven’t seen more of that. I think he’s played unselfish all year, which is maybe one of the reasons. Any time he steps on the floor, I expect to see that. So do his teammates, to be honest. It wasn’t like we were shocked in the locker room. It was kind of just Myles being Myles.”
Late in the game, it appeared that Powell suffered a sort of ankle injury, but he made one thing clear, “I feel great. I’m going to be ready for tomorrow. We’re going to prepare for a great Marquette team and go back to the hotel and get ready.”
Seton Hall also got big nights from Myles Cale, who had 14 points (5-13 FG, 3-7 three-pointers) and 4 rebounds; and Sandro Mamukalasvhili, who had 12 points (4-8 FG, 1-1 threes), with 10 rebounds to give him a double-double, along with 2 steals and an assist.
Georgetown was led by James Akinjo, the Big East Freshman of the Year, who had 15 points on 6-10 from the field, including 1-1 on threes, with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Mac McClung had 9 points (3-8 FG), with 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist.
Hoyas Head Coach Patrick Ewing said of the difference in the game was turnovers, as they committed 10 in the first half and 14 overall for the game. “Turnovers hurt us,” Ewing said. “You know, we went down big early, and it was trying to dig yourself out of a hole, and when the turnovers, unforced turnovers hurt us. They had 22 points off our turnovers the entire game. But I think in the first half, they had 12 points off our turnovers, and that’s something that we can’t — it’s hard to overcome. When you’re turning it over and you’re not getting stops, the other end, it’s hard to win.”
On if the atmosphere of the Big East affected his team, Ewing said, “I don’t think the moment is overwhelming. Even though it’s the Big East Tournament, it’s a big game, but we’ve been in other big games. Their trap put us back on our heels, and we weren’t able to get in the floor of our offense. Then we couldn’t — we’re digging ourselves out of a hole for the whole entire game. I think that’s what also hurt. The turnovers, then the trap slowed us down. We weren’t able to get into a good flow, and that hurt.”
Georgetown closed the regular season with a win at Marquette before suffering this very tough loss, the third time this season they followed a big win with a loss. Akinjo said what he thinks the cause of it was, “Maturity. I think as a team, we’re not as mature as we need to be right now.”
Georgetown took a big step this season as they finish with an overall record of 19-13, and Ewing said of his message to the team, “I didn’t really say anything to the senior class. I just said it’s disappointing, we have a good enough team that we could be playing tomorrow, but because we didn’t come with the right focus and the right effort, we fell short.
Georgetown is on the bubble of an NCAA Tournament berth, and Ewing said of whether he feels they made the case to partake in March Madness, “I’m not sure what it’s going to be. It’s hard when you leave the decision in other people’s hands. We had an opportunity where, with wins, we would have had enough — you know, our record would have been good enough to be able to move on. Now we still have a good record, but it’s in somebody else’s hands to put us in or not.”
Seton Hall faces Marquette in the semifinals on Friday night at 9:00 p.m.