Seton Hall’s seven-game winning streak ended on the final possession after a 15-point comeback fell just short in a 75-74 loss at DePaul.
Seton Hall started the season 0-3 when trailing at the half before reeling off four straight coming into this one. The Hall has now trailed eight times at the half — which is perhaps worrying in itself — and couldn’t rally for what would have been their largest comeback (15 points) this season. DePaul’s 20-2 run after the Pirates went up 13-10 in the first half was the early momentum swinger in this one, while a 17-5 Blue Demons run when their lead was cut to 40-39 early in the second half turned the tide a second time.
The last look from Sandro Mamukelashvili left a lot to be desired. It seemed obvious that Myles Powell would get the ball back after inbounding to Sandro, but the play didn’t quite pan out and left Mamu shooting an off-balanced shot that hit the far right side of the iron in a play that had shades of Saint Louis in it. It felt like Seton Hall would have been better off in the flow of the game rather than a choppy ending.
You can’t fault the effort down the stretch. The defensive guard pairing of Shavar Reynolds Jr. and Quincy McKnight really gave the team the extra energy down the stretch to keep their rally going and the team’s effort was particularly encouraging on the defensive end. McKnight took several charges and got Eli Cain sidelined for most of the second half after drawing his fourth foul, the sacrificing of his body is really becoming a staple of McKnight’s game.
Romaro Gill didn’t play today after suffering a bad ankle sprain on the last play of practice yesterday. “He got hurt at the end of practice yesterday (last play) trying to get back on a fast break dunk. Sprained his ankle pretty good. He might miss some significant time,” said Kevin Willard on AM 970’s pregame show. It sounds like Gill could be out for a while, which is a shame given the role he has emerged into. The team could have used him out there today as DePaul won the glass 29-24 and seemed to win most of the intangible battles in the paint today.
This loss represents a pair of missed opportunities. Seton Hall had a good chance of getting ranked with Iowa (25), Nebraska (24), Oklahoma (23), Wisconsin (22), and Marquette (16) all losing this week, plus unranked Kansas State and Arizona State also dropped games. This would have also been their longest winning streak since 2011-12 during Willard’s second season.
Quotes from Kevin Willard on AM970:
On the slow start to the game: “We weren’t very physical. They dominated us inside. That’s the biggest thing with not having Ro’ (Gill), they did a good job of taking advantage … We were too soft to start and it gave them too much momentum offensively.
“I thought we did a better job of getting them off the block, but they still hurt us … We didn’t have it very good mentally today. You can’t play against a veteran team if you’re not into it mentally, especially on the road.”
On not having any timeouts down the stretch: “I always like to have a timeout. I don’t usually burn them all. But with the way games are officiating these days … Sometimes you have to use them to stop momentum … When we’re not shooting the ball well, sometimes young guys do this, we break down defensively. And I thought we had a little bit too much of that for this point of the season.”
On the last possession: “They still had a foul to give, so we couldn’t waste a whole lot of time. It was either a hand-off to Myles to get a drive and a foul, but if they jump out like they did, fake it and just drive it and try to create something.
“That’s a sophomore, who hasn’t been in that situation very much, but he made the right read because they jumped out of on it, but he’s got to be able to drive to the rim at that point and not settle for a three, but he made the right read and I have a lot of confidence in Sandro in that situation to make the right read, the right pass.”
On Romaro Gill’s injury: “Once he got hurt, it changed the perception defensively for us.”
Willard also mentioned that the team has “had no luck with travel plans” and that it sounds like they won’t get home until 3AM on Monday instead of the original plan of being back in Jersey on Sunday night. Impacts prep plans for Butler.