Game thread: No. 12 Seton Hall hosts No. 3 Michigan State; Myles Powell to play?

No. 12 Seton Hall clashes with No. 3 Michigan State tonight at Prudential Center as Myles Powell’s game-time decision status looms.

At the time of writing this late Friday afternoon, Powell’s status made yet another upgrade, to a game-time decision.

This after Kevin Willard claimed Powell would be out for a few weeks post-Stony Brook, before his status was then bumped to a possible return against Saint Louis, and now finally what seems to be a toss-up for Sparty.

Regardless, an emotional Michigan State is the opponent in the wake of star player Cassius Winston’s brother passing away just a few days ago.

The nation’s pre-season title favorite and still No. 1 in KenPom, Michigan State doesn’t need any extra fuel on their fire while Seton Hall hopes for a late boost from Powell.

After Vegas opened at Seton Hall +5.5, the line has crept toward +5 while KenPom says Michigan State will win 75-71 after originally predicting 75-70; the change can be attributed to various related results (example being an opponent winning/losing, etc.) and is not a result of Powell’s injury status.

Tonight’s game is the biggest non-conference home game for Seton Hall in decades and the upper bowl at the Rock will be inundated with fans for the first time in as many attempts this season.

Seton Hall is 0-3 all-time against Michigan State:
12/22/01 — No. 17 Michigan State 68, Seton Hall 64
12/19/00 — No. 2 Michigan State 72, No. 8 Seton Hall 57
3/18/94 — Michigan State 84, Seton Hall 73

Rapid Reaction:

For a long time, it was tough to decide who playing a better defensive game: Romaro Gill or Quincy McKnight. The latter set the tone in the first half, drawing two offensive fouls on Michigan State star Cassius Winston in McKnight’s first seven minutes of action, sidelining him for most of the half. But Gill came on strong, getting isolated on the block against big Xavier Tillman but coming up with countless stops, seven defensive boards, three blocks, and a steal before the half. Gill picked up where he left off

While Kevin Willard and his staff had declared the offense further along than the defense heading into Thursday night, the opposite was true. Even with Myles Powell in the game, Michigan State seemed confident of their game plan, giving one, maybe two “good” looks to Seton Hall over the opening 20 minutes — it was hard to come by a high-percentage look. Powell had two guys draped all over him pretty much anytime he had the ball in the opposition’s half and it took some nice individual efforts from him and his teammates to get the offense into a more comfortable state of mind.

Seton Hall played a little too loose when they were up five, 71-66. The Pirates took a pair of quick shots, one being a Powell drive early in the shot clock and killed only 41 seconds over the course of a few possessions before Michigan State could answer. It’s tough to get away from what got you there, but retrospect says Seton Hall should have slowed the pace a bit. 

I wanted to say Myles Cale was giving Michigan State the Kentucky treatment, but Cale was 2-9 from three in that game before hitting the winner. Cale emerged nicely in this one, sinking his first three triples, giving the offense a shot in the arm early in the second half. 

Seton Hall received some efficient point guard play, even if it wasn’t flashy. In addition to the two drawn charges, Quincy McKnight (4p, 6a, 2 TO, 1stl) while Anthony Nelson (4p, 5a, 1TO) had a quietly good game, not missing a shot from the field. 

Editorial note: Deviating a bit from the usual routine, I will not be posting a ‘rapid reaction’ in the wake of tonight’s game due to the late tip (8:45). Most readers will be checking in early Friday morning instead of ~11PM, so in an effort to focus more on quality than content, I will instead be updating this post with some mid- and post-game notes – please use the comment section until my first story can be published. Thank you.