Pirates Steer Ship Away from Disaster as Powell Leads Comeback over DePaul
NEWARK, NJ – The closer is what he’s most known to do. Senior guard and Trenton, NJ native Myles Powell led the way this evening in the second half, as he scored 18 points, and 24 total. The Seton Hall Pirates (16-4, 8-0) took down the DePaul Blue Demons (13-8, 1-7) by a score of 64-57 following signs of fatigue down the stretch, and from the free-throw line.
“It was really my teammates. Commented Powell following the adjustment question. “My coaching staff never giving up on me. Never letting me hang my head. This is one of the roughest game I’ve had in a long while. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the way I did. I owe it to them.”
Starting off shooting two-of-10 from the field, and only scoring six points, Powell turned on his best Mariano Rivera impression, where he led his 10th ranked Pirates team on a 12-1 run in the second half to overtake the Blue Demons while being down a game-high nine points.
Returning from injury was junior forward Sandro Mamukaleshvili, who had been out since December 8 with a non-shooting hand injury. He would register one point on a free-throw attempt and log five minutes of game-time. "“It was great. Actually, I thought Sandro played much better than I even thought he would for having four practices. I was actually very encouraged, he wasn’t, I was just encouraged of where he was. In the second half, I just couldn’t get him back in there. For a guy that hasn’t played in that long, it just wasn’t the time.” commented Kevin Willard in the postgame press-conference.
“Seton Hall is one of the few teams in America that’s very difficult to beat for a number of reasons and most importantly they play with poise. They’ve been in a million wars.” Said DePaul head coach Dave Leiato following the team’s collapse in the second half.
“Powell’s been around a long time. McKnight’s been around a long time, Cale’s been around. The guys that come off the bench know their roles. They don’t ever panic; you can be up 10 or down 10 and they play the same way whether they’re making shots or not making them.”
DePaul started off slower than expected, as they fell to an early 17-6 deficit at the 11:12 mark following a Myles Powell triple, and his first of the evening. “You have to remember, we just came off a bye week. I’m starting to simply accept that I’m a second-half player.” Chuckled Powell.
On the comeback trail, were the Pirates, who were at one point, shooting five-of-15 from the charity stripe, got some help from DePaul, who committed eight fouls and entered the bonus at the seven-minute mark of the second half. In the span from that point onward, the senior guard and Preseason All-American would tally 12 points till the end, including seven-of-11 from the free-throw line.
A fast break lay-up sealed the fate for the Blue Demons, as Powell would give his Pirates team the lead at 53-51 with 5:28 on the game-clock. The Hall would earn 16 points off turnovers, mainly off of Quincy McKnights four steals. Romaro Gill would once again tally an absurd number of blocks, with five, and Seton Hall logging 32 points from inside the paint, compared to 28 for the Blue Demons. The Hall would earn 14 second chance points, compared to eight.
Coming off the emotional weekend following the tragic death of NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, Myles Powell just so happened to finish with 24 points. One of two numbers to be retired for the late Bryant (8 and 24). "I'm glad to have finished with 24, and honor Kobe. I would always yell "Kobe!" shooting, but at the end of the day, we got the win, and that's all that matters." Commented Powell.
Continuing his quest for Terry Dehere’s record of most points in a Pirate uniform, Myles Powell would pass Greg Tynes (2,059, 1974-78), who was coincidently in attendance this evening, and conclude the contest with 2,060 points total. Next up is Jeremy Hazell (2,146, 2007-11) sitting in 3rd all-time on the respective list.
Next up for the Hall are the Xavier Muskateers, who come to the Prudential Center for an 11 a.m. tipoff on Saturday, February 1.
Willard spoke to the media about the one hour difference. “It’s just like a noon game. You just have to wake up a half-hour earlier. We’ll do the same thing we usually do, we’ll practice early Friday, have a night walkthrough Friday night and get after it on Saturday.”