Seton Hall dug deep and came away from Battle 4 Atlantis with a must-have consolation prize in a hard-fought 84-76 win over Iowa State.
The result of this game will really help Seton Hall in the short term, but also come Selection Sunday. Heading into playing the same team twice away from home without any notable wins under your belt adds some pressure to the immediate situation and the Pirates really dug deep tonight in what was a really competitive and entertaining game. They’ll have a chance to double their earnings after a long week of prep when they trip to Ames, Iowa next weekend. Seton Hall certainly brought their best blue collar effort tonight, answering Willard’s call to bring an “edge”.
A pair of threes from Sandro came at clutch times. His first came late in the first half and gave Seton Hall their first lead of the game, and his second big shot pretty much sealed the deal, giving Seton Hall a 76-65 lead just before the final media timeout. Willard was a little prophetic late last night, talking about how good of a player Sandro is and him getting confidence from the perimeter would be a huge boost for him; Sandro’s 18 points and six boards were an essential ingredient in the Hall’s win.
Someone draw an ice bath for Quincy McKnight. Between the last few games, he’s suffered from cramps, smashing his head on the court, and his fair share of hitting the deck after various plays — you can’t question his passion. I’ll argue that no one showed more of the “edge” than McKnight, although you can say Myles Cale (8p, 12r, 4a) equaled him, who had his best game of the season.
Shavar Reynolds Jr. helped turn the tide in the first half. The former walk-on hit a transition three making him now 7-of-11 on the year before putting in a defensive shift against Tyrese Haliburton, who was firing on all cylinders early in the game. Reynolds helped force a Haliburton mistake after following him off three screens and generally steadied the team during an uncertain time; Iowa State’s 4:45 scoring drought wasn’t a coincidence.
Myles Powell looks a bit gassed. It’s tough to remember the last time he’s shot an air ball let alone get blocked and get called for a charge in just about as many possessions. Seton Hall’s extended week off should be put to get use and refresh the Pirates’ star player, who really had to battle for his 24 points which came on 19 shots and with a side of four turnovers. That said, Myles passed Khadeen Carrington on the all-time scoring list and is now on 9th points, 11 points behind Andre Barrett.
Five Quotes from Kevin Willard on AM970
On the team bringing the edge: “We also have no power! Maybe we took all the power from the island. I loved the way the guys came out. I think their speed messed with us a little bit the first five minutes, they really were pushing it but when we settled in defensively, I really thought Shavar and Jared’s defensive intensity the last ten minutes of the first half changed the momentum of the game.”
On Myles Cale showing up: “That’s the way these guys need to play, plain and simple. That’s the way I expect Sandro and Myles Cale to play, they should play at that level. I’m proud of both of them. Team’s in the first half are always going to be able to lock onto Myles [Powell]. And I thought they did a really good job in the first half of being aggressive offensively and cutting and making good plays. I’m glad Sandro stepped into the line and took shots because he makes the game so much simpler when he just steps into it and shoots it.”
McKnight’s toughness: “He played great. He is a warrior. He really is just a tough son of a gun. During the foreign tour he took an elbow and really rung his bell hard on the same place. So when he hit the floor nothing really happened except he hit the same spot he got his bell rung in Italy. He went back to the locker room and I did a speech and then I said that we’re going to start Shavar and he came up and said ‘Nah I’m OK. I’m alright. It hurts but I’m fine’ and then he played great.”
On Anthony Nelson only playing two minutes: “I put him out there and sometimes you’re just in a little bit of a funk. He played really well against Oregon, I think he just got down on himself like everyone else. Sometimes when you’re playing these games you can’t get down, you’ve got to get yourself back up. I have a lot of confidence in Ant. We have a whole week to practice. I’ll get him back into the rhythm. I have a lot of confidence, we need him because he can get in the lane and get guys shots.”
When Gary Cohen was going to end the interview: “We’re not going anywhere. There’s no power in the hotel. There’s no power on the island. This is the only place we have lights. The generator is lighting up this place and not even the casino, tells you how important college basketball is.”
On how he’s treating playing Iowa State twice in a row: “Either it’s going to be an offensive juggernaut or it’s going to be a defensive struggle because everyone knows what to do. The way I explained it to the team and the way I’m attacking it is this is a 20-game league schedule. We’re playing a high-major top 25-30 team in the country twice. Next year we go to 20 league games, it’s like we’re starting the Big East early almost.”