South Orange — The Pirates’ preseason is complete. Seton Hall took care of business by blowing out D-III Misericordia 112-38 on Tuesday night at Walsh Gym.
But the game started with Grant Billmeier — not Kevin Willard — prowling the sideline and none other than Myles Powell hitting four straight threes and scoring 14 of the Pirates’ first 16 points.
Stifling defense and a series of highlight reel slams gave Seton Hall a 45-15 lead late in the first half that wasn’t even thought of being threatened the rest of the way on a rainy night in South Orange.
My observations from the game are below. Stay tuned for an update on the Willard suspension situation.
The leading takeaway is obviously Kevin Willard’s suspension. More on this shortly, as Grant Billmeier will be made available to media tonight. That said, my thoughts are simple: if two games is the final result of all this and Seton Hall wins comfortably on Tuesday, it’s basically a non-story. Further, the tampering issue is related to Taurean Thompson.
Tyrese Samuel physically resembles a late sophomore or early junior. The freshman Canadian forward featured early tonight just like he did against Bloomfield and looks like he will play a decent role off the bench this season. It will be scary what he can be molded into after a year or so after he displayed a versatile skill-set, swiping several passes, driving the length of the court for a slam, and flushing home at least three alley-oops. On a related note, Anthony Nelson (knee) played tonight after sitting out the first exhibition with an injury.
I received my first dose of this season’s Myles Powell show — it won’t be the last. Myles hit four long-range threes out of the gates and then blew by his opponent from the three-point line to score 14 of the Hall’s first 16, smiling the whole way. A roughly 90-percent capacity Walsh was pulsing with his every touch of the rock in the first half — mainly because he was shooting from just about anywhere in the gym, making most of his attempts. I sense a theme for the season.
Ike Obiagu started again, but Romaro Gill might have the nod in terms of ability right now. Gill swatted a series of first half shots and slammed home a Powell alley-oop setup, looking more agile and active than his seven-foot counterpart. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gill sees more minutes than Obiagu, regardless of who starts the game.
Grant Billmeier used his entire scholarship bench before the first under-four timeout tonight, including Taurean Thompson, who didn’t see the court for the first 30 minutes with Willard at the helm last week. The lopsided score was obviously a factor here, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Hall’s improved depth is managed when the opposition gets tougher; expending more energy on the defensive end must be the greatest byproduct of the depth.