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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

#10/10 Seton Hall Returns Home for Providence Showdown


NEWARK, NJ – Coming into a brisk Wednesday evening in New Jersey, the Pirates are set to debut as the #10 ranked team in the nation according to the Associated Press Poll for the first time since the week of November 21, 2000. Following a come-from-behind, 82-79 victory against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon, head coach Kevin Willard and his Pirates (14-4, 6-0) are looking to extend their winning streak to nine, as they welcome in Ed Cooley and the Providence Friars (11-8, 4-2).

Reaching 2,000 career points in the most recent contest against the Red Storm inside the World’s Most Famous Arena, was senior guard Myles Powell. “This is what I came back for. The great teammates I have and great coaching staff.” Powell said following the St. John’s game. “I’m blessed to be in this situation, thankful for everything that’s come my way, and we’re going to continue to keep playing Seton Hall basketball and keep getting wins because that’s all that matters at this point.” The Trenton, NJ native goes into the next contest against Providence, with 2,022. Just 37 points back of the great Greg Tynes (1974-78), who sits in fourth with 2,059 points.

Earning victory number six in conference-play this season, so far, the Pirates are determined to extend their 1.5 game lead over second-place Villanova, who sit 4-1 with #13 ranked Butler (3-2) coming up on Tuesday evening. As the #10 ranked team all-time, Seton Hall is 11-4 all-time with their last victory coming against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on November 27, 2000. As the respective ranking of 10, the Hall has won six of their last seven games dating back to the NCAA Tournament 1993-94 team.

This past Friday, junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili posted a video on social media, where he recorded himself dunking. Prior to Saturday’s game at MSG, he would shoot around with team. The Georgian native has been out since December 8, with a broken bone in his right and non-shooting wrist. Head Coach Kevin Willard would tell Asbury Park Press’ Jerry Carino, that Mamu’s return is “realistic” against DePaul on Wednesday, January 29.

As Powell leads the way with 22.4 points-per-game through 16 games played thus far this season, his Pirates team are still without the aforementioned Mamukelashvili, the Friars come in looking to avenge their narrow defeat to #25 Creighton on Saturday. Leading the way for Providence in that one, was sophomore guard David Duke as he tallied 36 points on the afternoon, while not one of his teammates could surpass the double-digit mark on the respective scoring category.

On Monday, the Big East Conference named Myles Powell to their weekly honor roll for a second-consecutive week, following a pair of victories on the road at Butler and at St. John’s. In both instances, Powell helped lead the charge in double-digit deficits.

The Pirates return home for the first time since January 11 against Marquette, which will figure to be yet another raucous crowd at the Prudential Center tomorrow evening, as the Friars have begun to find a rhythm since the start of Big East play. During their non-conference season, Ed Cooley and his squad found themselves sitting in the basement of the Big East with an abysmal 7-6 record, and a few losses coming to Long Beach State and the Charleston Cougars in the Wooden Legacy tournament a few weeks ago.

A daunting task for the Friars, who as previously mentioned have suffered shocking losses to non-conference opponents in which they were heavily favored to win. The task of winning a game comes first, before even thinking of a National Invitation Tournament bid, let alone an NCAA berth. Ed Cooley’s team could and most likely be a lock to play on Wednesday evening at the Big East Tournament this year in hopes just to advance to the main rounds.

The Friars have just a pair of scorers who rank in double-digit range with Duke and Alpha Diallo (14.0 PPG) leading the way.

On Saturday afternoon, senior guard Quincy McKnight told the media about the target on their back as the preseason conference champions. “We’re tough,” McKnight said. “Four road wins, eight in a row, we’re just showing everybody we’re tough. We went to Hinkle and we were down 10 at halftime, came back in the second half, down 13 at the half today and came back again.”

Seton Hall is no longer the hunter. They are the hunted.

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