by Josh Adams
South Orange, NJ- There was a buzz in the air around Seton Hall’s campus on Tuesday night. It could’ve been from the line that formed around the school library as people lined up to vote on election day. Or it more likely was from the opening of the college basketball season as Seton Hall matched up against the Wagner Seahawks on a rainy night in old Walsh Gymnasium. For the 1,500 people who attended the game, it was the Myles Powell show from the opening tip as the junior from Trenton put on a clinic against the Seahawks. Powell’s 30 points led the Pirates to an easy victory over Wagner 89-49 as the Pirates forge ahead into 2018-19 with a brand new starting lineup and Powell emerging as the superstar everyone thought he could be.
Powell was head and shoulders above everyone else on the court tonight. Wagner is no pushover. They won their regular season conference championship last year and were picked to finish third in the NEC Conference this season in the preseason polls. Powell made the whole Seahawks lineup look like recreation league players. The alarming thing about Powell’s game is he actually passed up a few open shots in order to get his teammates involved in the game. He equaled his single game career high of 30 points on 10-13 shooting from the floor. He was 5 for 7 from the three point arc. All the accolades in the world wouldn’t describe how much Powell dominated the Seahawks defense.
“I was feeling it all week, honestly. I wanted to prove a lot. I wanted to show that the program is still in good hands.”
– Myles Powell on his 30 point performance that matched his career single game high
“I’m blessed to be in this situation. I learned so much from them on how to handle yourself. Angel (Delgado) and Desi (Rodriguez) called me last night and said they’d be watching and expect great things from me this season.”
–Myles Powell on learning from the four seniors and being “The Man” on the team now
” Twitter is going to kill me on this. I have to coach this team much more than I had to do last year. I’m still getting used to that a little bit. I would let some things slide last year. I can’t do that with this team.”
– Kevin Willard on why he was agitated with his team at the end of the first half
“I live by +/- during the season. I won’t look at +/- during a game. It’s a great teaching tool when it comes to playing time.”
– Kevin Willard on embracing analytics as a college coach
The Unsung Hero
Mike Nzei was supposed to be the defensive specialist on this year’s Seton Hall team but he contributed 11 points for the Pirates while shooting 5/6 from the field. Nzei gained a considerable amount of muscle this winter and looked a lot more comfortable handling the ball in the first game of the year. While Seton Hall probably won’t count on Nzei being a prolific scoring threat, it’s good to see his progression from a liability on the offensive end of the floor and he’s made himself into a better all-around player for the Pirates. Nzei’s leadership was evident on the defensive side as the Pirates led in every single defensive metric of the game. Somewhere, Angel Delgado and Ish Sanogo are smiling at the amount of rebounds (41-26) that this year’s Pirates gobbled up tonight against Wagner.
The Pirates have an exhibition game against New Haven on Friday. They travel to play Nebraska next week.