Newark (N.J.) — A complete first half sent Seton Hall (15-9, 6-6) on their way to their first winning streak since the opening days of the New Year with a commanding 90-75 win over Georgetown (15-10, 6-6).
Of course Myles Powell paced the Pirates with 30 points (10/10 FTs) while Mike Nzei and Sandro Mamukelashvili combined for 29 points, 17 boards, and six assists while Myles Cale added a confident 17 as Seton Hall’s starters all padded the box score.
Seton Hall got off to a similar start that they saw against Creighton, but were able to really build upon early success for the first time in awhile.
After starting 21-9, Seton Hall had their most complete first half since Maryland and had their most efficient offensive first half in quite some time (outside of the last three minutes) to keep an energetic Prudential Center crowd engaged.
Leading 48-35 at the break despite a 7-0 Georgetown run into the half, doubt crept in ever so slightly after the Hoyas started the second half with a hoop, but consecutive threes from Quincy McKnight and Sandro Mamukelashvili helped Seton Hall on their way to their largest lead of the game at 63-42 with 15 to play.
In rare territory up such a large margin in Big East play, Seton Hall’s lead slipped to 13 at the under-12 with Kevin Willard giving Myles Powell a serious stare down after a sequence littered with poor shot selection, and then down to 11 at the under-eight timeout as Georgetown wasn’t afraid to push the pace.
But that was as close as the Hoyas would get — since the 14:00 mark of the first half actually; Seton Hall led by double digits for the final 34 minutes of play in an overall reassuring performance.
How good was the Sandro and Mike Nzei forward tandem tonight? With Taurean Thompson dressed but sidelined for the entire game (likely due to the violation of team rules that Willard said would keep him out only the Creighton game), the pair got their hands dirty early on and set the tempo in the paint by doing just about everything from Nzei reeling in eight offensive boards to Sandro dishing four assists, most of which came early on.
Despite a late lull, Seton Hall’s first half was their best since the Maryland game, all things considered. The Hoyas aren’t nearly as good as their local DMV-area foes, but the Hall also put on an offensive clinic tonight and led by as many as 20 points. It was refreshing to see the team put multiple stretches of strong play together instead of allowing the Hoyas balance themselves early in the game like the Hall did to Creighton. Looking at the game as a whole, Seton Hall led by double digits for the final 34 minutes, which is the definition of commanding as two early threes in the second half calmed their nerves.
While the defense had the crowd on their feet mid-way through the first half, the offense felt like it was in the cockpit, dictating most of this one. Case in point: when efficiency fell way off late in the first half, the team started to wobble a bit. And unlike a game like DePaul, it felt like the offense was doing more dictating rather than just responding and keeping up with the opponent. Hitting threes at a high rate and making your freebies tend to give your offense a boost, but a series of offensive boards in the first half and 15 on the night helped wear Georgetown down. Seton Hall’s 20 assists on 30 made field goals is surely their most efficient rate in a long time.