(Shavar Reynolds dropping a pass to Darnell Brodie – Photo by Jason Schott)
Seton Hall led throughout their game against Butler on Wednesday night at Prudential Center, and they held off a late surge from the Bulldogs to win 76-75.
Seton Hall, who improved to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Big East Conference play, was led by Myles Powell’s 31 points on 8-15 from the field, including two three-pointers, with 3 rebounds and an assist.
Quincy McKnight had 10 points (4-9 FG), 6 assists, and 2 rebounds, and Myles Cale (3-6 FG, 1-3 threes) and Sandro Mamukelashvili (3-4 FG) had 7 points apiece.
Seton Hall led 34-25 at halftime, powered by 13 first half points from Powell.
In the second half, the Pirates kept the momentum going, as a Powell layup at the 13:26 mark made it 46-36.
Butler wouldn’t go away quietly, as a Joey Brunk three-pointer brought them within four, 47-43, with 10:51 remaining. Seton Hall would soon go back up nine, 57-48, on three Powell free throws at the 9:04 mark, and up 10, at 63-53 on Shavar Reynolds free throws with 6:00 left.
Seton Hall went on a cold snap from there, as Butler went on a 10-2 run to pull within two, 65-63, on Brunk free throws.
Seton Hall responded and opened up a five-point edge, 72-67, on McKnight free throws with 33 seconds left, but Butler went right back down and got a quick three from Henry Baddley to pull back within two, 72-70, with 24 seconds left.
Coming out of an ensuing Butler timeout, Seton Hall used some nifty passing to break through the press, and Cale found Mamukelashvili for a layup to make it 74-70 with 12 seconds left.
Kemar Baldwin made a layup with four seconds left to make it a two-point game again, 74-72, but Powell went to the line a second later to drain a pair of free throws to basically seal the win before Baldwin made a three as time expired to make it a 76-75 Seton Hall victory.
Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard said of the game-winning play, Mamukelashvili’s layup with 12 seconds left, “We ran that three or four times last year, so Sandro knew what he was doing, Myles Cale knew what he was doing, Myles Powell, but this is the first time having Q(uincy McKnight) out there and Shavar (Reynolds), but it’s a simple play and it’s designed to kind of get the ball back into Myles’ hands, but also designed to take a little time off the clock so they can’t foul right away. It was good to attack and get a layup.”
Willard said of Mamukelashvili finishing that play and his redemption for missing a game-winning shot at DePaul Sunday, “The reason why Sandro had the ball at the end of the game last time is because I had confidence in him to make the right decision, and he made the right decision last game, he just didn’t make the right play. We ran it today, and he made the right decision, he made the right play.”
Seton Hall shot 51.1 percent (24-47) from the field, while holding Butler to 38.8 percent, or 26-67, shooting.
Willard said of The Hall’s defensive effort, “I actually thought that was Myles Powell’s best defensive game he’s had in a long time. He really did a good job of being solid. He’s got a tough matchup with (Paul) Jorgensen, and I thought he did a really good job of just kind of not getting lost and staying solid, and making it tough for Jorgensen. We knew (Kamar) Baldwin — that’s a special young player that everybody’s watching — he does it all for them. We knew he was going to get his, but we just wanted to limit everyone else’s, make sure that they weren’t hurting us from the three-point line.”
Seton Hall’s bench turned in a nice effort, with Darnell Brodie playing 19 solid minutes and notching 3 points (1-2 FG) and 6 rebounds. Taurean Thompson had 5 points (2-6 FG) and 3 rebounds.
Willard said of their bench, specifically Brodie’s effort, “I told Darnell after the DePaul game, I said, — we didn’t practice very well when we were out in Chicago, and we had two good practices this week, and Darnell had practiced great — and I just said, ‘Darnell, you gotta go down there and throw your body around against (Joey) Brunk.’ And Darnell has such a great attitude, he brings it every day to practice. He doesn’t look like a joyous, happy kid — he’s always got the same look on his face — but he’s had a great attitude. It’s been tough for him not to play, but he said he was ready and he played phenomenal.”
Seton Hall is on the road for their next two games, at Marquette Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm, followed by a game at Providence Tuesday at 6:30 pm.