NEWARK (N.J.) — Seton Hall trailed 54-48 at the final media timeout and looked a bit lost. Then Myles Powell scored 13 points including nine from the free throw stripe to prevent an ugly loss at Prudential Center.
Seemingly sensing the urgency orbiting their situation, a Taurean Thompson-less Seton Hall raced out to a 14-5 start before a series of avoidable mistakes on offense and a five-minute scoring drought killed momentum a bit and allowed Creighton to gain a foothold in the game.
The quick start was a bit of a mirage.
The offensive hiccup turned into an 8:02 field goal drought and when combined with a Creighton side unable to get anything going outside of Martin Krampelj (25p, 11r), a bland half that was somewhat salvaged by a pair of Myles Powell (22p, 7r) jumpers, ensued.
Leading 31-29 at the break, Seton Hall got off to an awkward but effective 10-0 run out of the gates.
Myles Cale (8p, 7r) and Shavar Reynolds Jr both stepped up and hit important threes as Quincy McKnight (14p, 3a) and Powell saw themselves in early foul trouble while Anthony Nelson (0p, 5a) did his work on the periphery, quietly dishing five assists.
Similar to the first half, Seton Hall built a 12-point lead at 41-29 and then let it get away from them, this time in worse fashion.
Creighton responded with a 22-5 run that proved even more momentous than their first half salvo.
Trailing 54-48 at the final media timeout, Seton Hall looked dead and then Myles Powell absolutely took over, scoring the game’s last six points and he had a hand in 13 of the Pirates’ final 15 points from the 5:37 point onward.
Powell put so much into this one that he looked absolutely gassed in the closing seconds and after the game.
Taurean Thompson did not play tonight. He was dressed in street clothes and didn’t appear injured. More on this soon.
An early flurry of turnovers that hurt momentum? We’ve seen it before. It’s a known fault for Seton Hall during Big East play and it hurt them again tonight in a very direct way. Up against a Creighton team that likes to space the floor and play at a solid tempo, a series of early mistakes on offense which seemed to coincide with Kevin Willard shuffling in some second team players killed the early momentum that put the Pirates up 14-5 and seemed to affect the team for the remainder of the half.
When the offense starts to wobble, boy does it really go off the rails. I lost track of how many times I failed to see Seton Hall run anything significant in half court scenarios during their second half woes. It seemed like everything was attack the basket with reckless abandon, or force something from deep — there wasn’t much in between. Extra passes, backing defenders in, playing inside-out. Just not much variety. How lucky is this team to have a Myles Powell to bail them out?
Seton Hall post-season was on the line tonight and they survived — by a razor thin margin. The Pirates likely need to win four of their next five to continue to remain in the NCAA discussion but an ugly loss on their home court would have probably done them in for good. Survive and advance.