South Orange — Myles Powell was knocked out the game with an early left ankle injury, but No. 12 Seton Hall overcame their malaise to handle Stony Brook 74-57 after a strong second half.
Here is Kevin Willard’s full quote on Powell’s injury, which he is getting an x-ray for soon.
“Injuries happen and especially with where he is at in his career, I’m probably going to be extra safe. I’ll hold him out as long as I need to make sure he comes back to where I don’t affect his future. It doesn’t look like a 1-game, 2-game (injury). This might be a prolonged absence.”
Willard also said the following to Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin on AM 970 post-game about Powell’s injury: “He sprained his ankle pretty good. He came down and really stepped on that guy’s foot and rolled it outside. It wasn’t a good one, let’s put it that way. He’s actually out getting x-rays right now. We’ll see how he looks but he’ll probably be out for awhile. This might be a good two- or three-weeker.”
Myles Powell’s injury severity is obviously the biggest takeaway from this game. Powell apparently poked his head out of the locker room a couple times after exiting the game, but he never returned to the court due to a left ankle sprain and Kevin Willard was far from positive on both his post-game radio interview as well as with the print media; Seton Hall declared him unfit to return not long after the injury as opposed to waiting a bit longer to assess the severity, for whatever that is worth.
Seton Hall played a bit shell-shocked after Myles Powell went down. The immediate 8-0 Pirates run aside, they fell into a deep lull after a quick offensive start to the game and scored just two points in 6.5 minutes, letting Stony Brook crawl right back into the game. It’s not exactly surprising to see a downward trend when your star player leaves the game, but the drop-off was drastic and Willard pinned some of the blame on himself.
When you have a star player, the question of who will play the role of co-captain is omnipresent. In the wake of Powell’s injury, this inquiry was fast-tracked for the Pirates. The immediate answer? No one stepped up. Until Sandro Mamukelashvili took the reins down the stretch of the first half, playing passionate (albeit frustrated) and emotionally trying to pump his teammates up heading into the locker room. Sandro was then supported by Romaro Gill and Quincy McKnight in the second half before Sandro left the game for a few minutes late after taking an apparent elbow/forearm directly to the face.
As of now, it seems like Seton Hall’s staff is going to ride the hot hand at center. Ike Obiagu was that guy against Wagner while Romaro Gill was a beast against Misericordia and had a monster second half today, tallying ten points, seven boards, one block and one steal after recording just three boards in the first 20 minutes. Edit: Obiagu saw limited time today due to a sprained ankle from Wagner. Regardless, the point remains that this is truly a rotation for now.
Early signs point to Quincy McKnight’s jump shot being much improved this year. The sample size is small (4-9 total), but his mechanics just seem more fluid and he seems more confident when facing up his defender around the perimeter. If McKnight can average two made-threes a game while attempting 4-6, that would be a big addition to the Hall’s offense.
Kevin Willard on Romaro Gill’s big second half: “Having Ro’ back out there really helped us. Ike (Obiagu) is still struggling from his ankle sprain from the last game. That’s why Ike didn’t play as much. He went out there and gave it his best but he’s still not back. He should be find for Michigan State. I said earlier in the year, the reason we struggled last year a little bit during the middle of the season was because Ro’ went down for seven games. He just gives us a presence, he knows what he’s doing offensively, he has confidence. Ro’ just is who he is. He doesn’t try to be who he’s not. ”
On Shavar Reynolds Jr.’s defense: “Shavar has been one of those guys— I thought he played the best of anybody. His two minutes (late in first half) I thought changed the tide last game. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Shavar. He can shoot it, he can defend anybody, he’s tough, I loved his energy, I thought the team fed off his injury.”
Willard on biggest thing going into Michigan State: “For me, trying to find a rotation now. I really struggled with that in the first half, trying to find a rotation that would work and be natural. I think we’re going to spend all day tomorrow and the next couple days to find a rotation that continues to let us play offense smoothly. I think I screwed us up more than anybody with the rotation.”
Willard on having to sit out the last two games: “Actually, watching it on T.V. was a lot easier than this (laughs). The hardest thing was not being able to communicate with the guys, you’re not allowed to do anything. I knew Grant would do phenomenal, Grant is going to be an unbelievable head coach. I had no worries we were going to win the game. The team prepared great all week. Grant is as good of an assistant that I’ve ever had. The hardest thing was not being able to communicate. For 24 hours I was dark. It was hard, you want to text your guys, you want to talk to your guys, your staff. That was hard.”
Sandro Mamukelashvili on Powell’s injury: “To be honest, it caught us off guard. Personally I didn’t see him going down like that. I feel like we were so motivated after he fell down. We came down after the first half and we saw him sitting down here and he was really upset. He was telling us ‘You’ve got to hold it down for me.’ The one thing on our mind this game was to go and just play for Myles and hold it down like he asked us to.”
“We knew what was going on with him. We heard he had sprained his ankle. Seeing him and him motivating us just helps us so much because he’s the leader and when the leader gives his heart out and tells you you have to help him out in this hard time, we really took care of business.”
Romaro Gill on Powell’s injury: “Well I think it’s a bit shocking for everybody because it’s your best player and that’s not something you want to see. But we didn’t let that get that down, we knew we had to win especially for him.”
Quincy McKnight on the positives of playing without Powell: “It just shows that if we all put our best out there we can win, with or without Myles. Real low scoring game for us today. The two scrimmages and the first game we had high points, today it just showed we can get down and be scrappy. We don’t have to score the ball, we can defend. Even if we don’t score we can come down and get stop after stop. That shows how gritty we are. Our defense is where we make our name. We play hard. So we’re going to get out there and play hard. Guys don’t like that when you play hard.”