Seton Hall’s N.C.A.A. hopes take hit in thrilling double overtime loss at Georgetown, 77-71

Of course it took double overtime. It had to. Myles Powell scored 35 but Seton Hall ultimately fell to Georgetown 77-71 in a drama-filled double overtime thriller.

With all sorts of bubble implications on the line, Powell scored 13 of Seton Hall’s (16-12, 7-9) first 18 points in what was largely an ugly first half as both teams played tight from the start.

After overcoming an early five-minute field goal drought, a Jared Rhoden three and a Romaro Gill tip-dunk helped Powell spark a 9-0 “run” that coincided with just one Georgetown (18-11, 8-8) field goal over nearly eight minutes of hoops.

Leading 28-24 at the half after committing just six turnovers and with both teams shooting a collective 5-25 from long range, Kevin Willard stuck with Gill and Gill in the lineup but with Mike Nzei in for Sandro Mamukelashvili, who recorded an important double-double.

The pace never truly picked up and Seton Hall found itself in trouble when trailing 44-39 at the under-12 timeout; Pirates not named Powell were shooting 19-percent from the floor and 10-percent from deep mid-way through the second half before eight points in four minutes from Sandro helped spark things down the stretch with Powell scoreless for a seven-minute stretch.

Tied at 55 coming out of the final timeout, Powell would score a go-ahead bucket with two to play before a critical Rhoden deflection with the Pirates down a score led to a drawn-up hook shot for Nzei who tied the game and defended Jesse Govan well on the final possession. 

Overtime would also come down to the final seconds before a second extra period and boy was it wacky.

Seton Hall nearly threw it away out of their final timeout and then had a shot clock violation before Georgetown threw away their ensuing inbounds. But Kevin Willard took Myles Powell and was without him for an empty possession.

Georgetown would split their free throws to set up a dramatic Jared Rhoden game-tying drive from the corner after Powell deferred to the freshman.

Second overtime wouldn’t disappoint. The five minutes included all sorts of drama including a brief shoving match after a long monitor review to correct a clock error that led to a Seton Hall shot clock violation.

After the long stoppage, Sandro would sink a long jumper with one tick on the clock to tie the game with two to play as the game officially entered bonkers status.

Down two scores under a minute after a McKnight missed drive, Rhoden would enter the spotlight again but this time dropped the ball out of bounds while under the basket alone to seal Seton Hall’s fate, which may include the N.I.T. unless they really turn things around heading into the Big East Tournament.

Five takeaways (and one, for double overtime’s sake)

Willard’s decision to start Shavar Reynolds and Romaro Gill in place of Quincy McKnight and Mike Nzei, respectively, wasn’t bad nor great. Gill got lost on a few early defensive possessions, but both ultimately had a say in Georgetown scoring just 24 first half points. Reynolds also played 21 minutes and was called upon when McKnight picked up his fourth foul early in second half, but failed to score.

Myles Powell was on a mission tonight, but he didn’t get any help for the first 30+ minutes. He stood out from the start by scoring 13 of the Hall’s first 18 while everyone else seemed stuck in n the mud and was almost out-scoring Georgetown single-handedly at the final media break of the first half. Powell would score 27 of the team’s first 49 before Sandro and others helped out down the stretch, but it ultimately wasn’t enough secondary help with guys like Myles Cale and Quincy McKnight coming up empty offensively today.

I don’t know how Kevin Willard didn’t get a technical just before the under-eight in the second half. He was irate after it appeared that Georgetown may have stepped on the sideline before hitting a three — CBS only showed one quick replay that seemed to confirm Willard’s view on things. The warning avoided Georgetown free throws and Sandro would convert an and-one to complete an important swing that injected some second half life. 

Freshman Jared Rhoden (9p/9r/3stls) made a nice impact off the bench in an ever-increasing role. He sank an important first half three as well as a drive through traffic late in the second half, but his most important play was a deflection that led to a steal in the final minute and set up Mike Nzei’s game-tying bucket to send the game to overtime. Rhoden shouldn’t receive blame for fumbling Seton Hall’s last chance out of bounds — it was a tough way to end a solid game.

Mike Nzei came up big late on the final two possessions of regulation with a well drawn-up shot coupled with strong defense on Jesse Govan to send the game to overtime. Nzei scored all six of his points after the seven-minute mark of the second half and early in the first overtime after starting the game on the bench and not making much of a splash in the first half. Nzei would foul out before the second overtime.

As I tweeted before the game, Seton Hall isn’t NIT-bound just yet. As Willard said post-game, Marquette and Villanova are two big “opportunities”, although the Pirates are trending in the wrong direction. It’s better to have these two games than against say DePaul or Providence, who won’t boost your resume with a win. Two wins put them back in the field and may not require a win at the Garden, while a split means they might need two in New York and 0-2 would probably seal the NIT.

Quotes from Kevin Willard on AM970

Willard opening statement: Missed free throws really hurt us. We didn’t get there very often but when we did, the ones we missed, really hurt us. It never gave us a little bit of a cushion where we could make something. When Mike (Nzei) fouled out, none of the other big guys had really played, so it was tough to play them in that situation.

“They (Georgetown) got some big offensive rebounds … These guys played phenomenal, extremely hard. We had some turnovers that hurt us too, but overall, unbelievable effort and we had a great week of practice and we didn’t play well offensively, but no one has played well offensively here (at Georgetown), they’re been really good defensively here and they went with a defensive lineup.

“Everyone battled, and that’s all you can ask. This time of year, you know it’s going to be a hard-fought game and we executed late in the game and gave us chances to stay in the game, but in the first half we had some good looks that guys didn’t make and we only go up four (into the half) and that was tough, we didn’t finish with good momentum going into the half.”

On how close of a game it was: “They all– everyone played their hearts out, played really well, battled. You’ve got to leave it all out there and there’s times you’ll be on the right and times you’ll be on the wrong end. We had opportunities, this is our 15 games either within five points or in overtime. These guys are going to learn a lot and I think they’re going to get better from it. I can’t say anything negative, I really can’t. They all just left it out there, they left their hearts out there, they knew what it meant.

“The tough thing is we have to bounce back after this emotional effort we have a couple days to get ready for a very good Marquette team.”

On Georgetown being a tough opponent and depth of the league: “They’ve been playing really well, especially at home. Hammering Villanova here, really controlling the whole game. Controlling the whole game against DePaul. I knew this would be a tough test. Everyone responded well and did some good things and we hit some really good shots to give us a chance to win the game.”

Message to the players over next few days: “We’ll get back to work on Monday. It’s two good opportunities (Marquette and Villanova), that’s the way you have to look at it. Just like tonight was. I don’t think we haven’t really taken advantage of them (close games), we’ve just been in so many close games for such a young team. It’s pretty impressive they keep coming out and fighting and doing some good things.”

On Myles Cale’s off night:No one shot well, it’s not like anyone shot the basketball well. Myles Cale has been playing great. Jared came in and gave us really good defensive rebounding when we needed it.”