NEW YORK — A record-setting 29 first half points from Myles Powell was enough for Seton Hall to dispatch 73-57 and set up a meeting with Marquette in the Big East Tournament semifinals.
Facing Georgetown at the Garden for the first time since a 2005 first round loss, Seton Hall enjoyed a Pirate-centric crowd that featured much more Pirate blue than prior games at the Garden this season.
An 18-5 run in the first quarter of the game was sparked by defense and kept ablaze by crisp ball movement and efficiency from all over the court in what turned into a first half rout.
Seton Hall’s points off turnovers matched Georgetown’s total points for most of the half as the Pirates, led by a dominant Myles Powell (31 pts, 3 asts) carried a commanding 53-28 lead into the half.
But your fingernails were not to be forgotten.
A seven-minute Seton Hall scoring drought midway through the second half allowed Georgetown creep within 14 with 8:30 to play before a clutch five points from Quincy McKnight plugged the leak and gave the Pirates an 18-point lead with six to play that they would not relinquish despite Powell picking up an injury in the closing minutes.
Myles Powell wasn’t just a basketball player tonight, he was an entertainer. Powell outscored Georgetown in the first half en route to setting a new Big East Tournament record for points in a half with 29 and had the crowd oohing and ahhing every time he touched the rock. Despite all the firepower that had him being asked for autographs at the half, Powell locking in defensively and swiping three steals in the first 12 minutes really kept the offense going and was a secret to the team’s success.
Seton Hall was crisp and efficient on offense in the first half — when they play like that, they are Sweet 16 caliber. Isn’t it a lot more fun to watch everyone get a touch on a possession and/or a distinct set play run? The Pirates did a lot of both and their three late in the shot clock as the first half was winding down after a stout Georgetown defensive possession summed up just how good they were. The second half was a different story and a glimpse of how Seton Hall can look when they lose focus and struggle from the perimeter (8/14 first half vs. 0/9 second half).
Powell appeared to pick up an injury heading into the final media timeout of the game. Leading by 19, Powell limped to the end of the bench and then directly to the locker room instead of joining the team in the huddle before returning with a minute to play. I didn’t see any replays from Fox but Powell appeared to have his right leg wrapped with ice after taking a knee to the thigh. Edit: Powell dismissed any and all concerns post-game and said he will be ready to play on Friday night.
Quotes from Kevin Willard and players
Willard on Powell’s first half: “This is going to sound crazy, but that’s what I see everyday. I don’t think it’s any different– I’m just surprised we haven’t seen more of that. I think he’s played unselfish all year which may be one of the reasons. Every time he steps on the court I expect to see that.
Willard when asked if disappointed by second half: “I was thrilled with the way we played. I thought we played well all game. Offensively, we got a little stagnant, but that was my fault.
Powell on his injury: “I feel great. I’m going to be ready for tomorrow.”
Editorial note: Due to the late tip of tonight’s game, I won’t be rushing my post-game story as most readers will be counting sheep. But make sure to check back tomorrow morning.