NEWARK, NJ – The first time in program history has the Seton Hall Pirates undefeated to start conference play, even dating back to the early ‘90’s, and the legendary P.J. Carlisemo era. The Hall came away with a remarkable victory over the Providence Friars 73-64, after trailing by a pair in the end of the first half on Wednesday night from the raucous Prudential Center in Newark.
Following a 10-4 non-conference season that saw senior guard Myles Powell lead the way in much of the contests, and not much secondary scoring, tonight proved to be that the Pirates can win without the Preseason All-American and Trenton native. Powell took only six shots this evening, and converted on three of those. He did tally eight-of-eight from the charity stripe in 34 minutes on the hardwood.
Center Romaro Gill tied a career-high 17 points on the night, and swatted away a whopping seven to mark the respective number down as his career-high in that category as well. At the 10-minute mark of the first half, Gill already had four slam-jams and led the way with 11 points at the time. “The way he’s progressed this summer, he has put a lot of work into his game.” Commented Willard post-game.
The second half featured Seton Hall minus Myles Powell, and not in a bad way. More of a secondary scoring role for senior guard Quincy McKnight, and most notably sophomore guard Jared Rhoden, who was in charge of the 10-4 run, and earned a basket off his own offensive board. “I told him he needs to get in there and rebounds and do something for me. That’s what I love about Jared, you tell him something to do and he’s going to go out there and do it.”
Off of a 36-point contest from the Friars’ sophomore guard David Duke against #25 Creighton, Duke couldn’t follow up with a repeat performance, as he tallied just nine points on the evening in 37 minutes. Head Coach Ed Cooley wasn’t too pleased with the performance of his team even though they mounted pressure to the Pirates much of the evening. “We had 41 missed shots, and for the second game in a row, our defense is letting us down. There was a stretch there when it was a one possession game, and they had back-to-back rebounds on a pair of missed shots. We have to get more out of our guys.” The Pirates still were outrebounded on the offensive glass 19-7.
Previously commenting on junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili and his potential long-awaited return to the floor, was Kevin Willard, and his words were not the ones that wanted to be heard inside the media room. “Sandro’s not clear to practice yet, so no. He looks great in doing individual stuff, and that looks great, but he just doesn’t have enough muscle in his forearm yet to protect himself if he falls, and that’s why he’s not clear. He doesn’t have enough muscle in his forearm — his bone is healed and his wrist looks great — but I have to protect him just in case he falls again. He’ll be clear for practice, he won’t be clear for Wednesday. He won’t be ready to play Wednesday.”
Other performers tonight included Quincy McKnight who added 11 points, eight assists, three steals, and a pair of boards. The senior guard also converted all four free-throws from the line in his pair of trips to the line.
The Pirates have one week off, and will return to the Prudential Center on Wednesday, January 29 for a battle with DePaul. Scheduled tip is set for 6:30 p.m.