By Josh Adams
Newark- The way that Seton Hall’s Big East schedule has unfolded so far this season, Tums should be distributed to fans entering the Prudential Center.
In the first four Big East games that Seton Hall has played this season, three have come down to the final possession of the game. Sitting at 3-1 in-conference after tonight’s 76-75 win over Butler, the Pirates don’t need any rabbit’s foot or horseshoe when it comes down to the wire. They have their All-American candidate Myles Powell to lean on during these situations. Tonight, Powell hit 13 out of 15 free throws including two with 3.0 seconds left that iced the game for the Pirates. More often than not Powell’s play will be the biggest story of the game. The thing about Powell’s game that doesn’t get the big headlines is his on-court demeanor. It’s as big a part in Seton Hall’s early success as the numbers Powell puts on the scoreboard.
Powell’s leadership traits start before the ball is tipped. He and his teammates Myles Cale and Quincy McKnight do what can only be described as an Irish-jig after team introductions are made. This isn’t a serious dance by any means. You can see one or more of them cracking up as their doing it. As the game ebbs and flows, you see Powell gathering his team in huddles before foul shots. I could count on one hand how many times I’ve even seen him make a sideways glance at a referee during a questionable call. There’s just a calmness to his game that belies just how much he is in control of it.
Tonight as Butler’s game-plan keyed in and played really aggressive towards him, Powell didn’t try and force shots. He turned the aggressive defense that the Bulldogs played into fouls and trips to the free throw line. As razor thin as tonight’s victory was for the Pirates, there was no sense of panic by them in crunch time. When Butler full-court pressed in trying to get a turnover in the final 30 seconds, the Pirates broke it perfectly and that resulted in a easy layup.
When Powell is interviewed after games you get the sense that he rather swallow spoiled milk than give himself any credit for a win. “Tonight was a result of us sticking together, doing our scouting and listening to our coaches.” said Powell after tonight’s win. The Big East is a conference where as Powell said tonight, “You never know which player on any team will step up and every possession matters.” It’s no secret to Seton Hall’s opponents that Powell will be that player and he wants the ball with the game on the line.
Try not to panic in that situation Big East coaches and players. Myles Powell and his teammates have proven so far that they won’t.