by Josh Adams
Newark- A crowd of 9,080 at the Prudential Center was as loud as a freight train around 8:30 on Wednesday night. They saw the hottest player this side of Mars bring his Seton Hall team back from the brink (and the NCAA bubble) as Myles Powell and the Pirates went on an 18-0 run to finish the game and beat the #16 Marquette Golden Eagles. It was stunning, it was magic, it was everything you could ever hope for as a fan as we drive into the teeth of March Madness. Powell finished the game with 34 points, 19 of those that were scored in the second half and none bigger than this shot below that gave the Pirates the lead.
Sitting squarely on the NCAA bubble, a win tonight against a Marquette team would likely give Seton Hall a bid for the tournament. It didn’t look good for them in the first half as Marquette’s Sam Hauser was as hot as egg on a griddle, scoring 14 points in the first half as Marquette used Hauser’s hot hand and a 27-13 rebounding edge to give the Golden Eagles a 37-31 lead at halftime. It was notable that the Pirates guard Quincy McKnight held all Big East guard Markus Howard to just three points on 1-5 from the field at the half.
The second half featured a bit of an adjustment from the Pirates as they employed a full court press that left the Golden Eagles a bit flummoxed and caused a few turnovers as Seton Hall chipped away at Marquette’s lead. The situation still looked dire for the Pirates with 4:22 left in the game as the visiting team held a seven point advantage.
Then…Myles Powell happened.
Pirates Coach Kevin Willard told Powell in the huddle at the under four minute media timeout that the whole team reflects how he would play for the final few minutes of the game. Powell than proceeded to put the team, the fans, the school pep band and everyone else in the building on his back as he proceeded to score 10 straight points to give the Pirates the lead, 67-64. As the arena went bananas, the Marquette team was clearly shell-shocked and couldn’t muster a single basket to counter Powell’s offensive explosion. What was a seven point Marquette lead turned into a 73-64 Pirates victory in a blink of an eye.
Howard was held to just six points and was in foul trouble courtesy of the defense of McKnight. “I just looked at game tape and stayed in front of him tonight”, said McKnight about shutting down Howard. Sam Hauser led the Golden Eagles (23-7, 12-5) with 25 points.
“All year, my coaches were telling me they follow you,” Powell told me after the game “I feel like I did it on the offensive end while my teammates took care of it on the defensive end. It wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just Quincy, it was a group effort.”
Next up for Seton Hall (17-12, 8-9) is a Villanova team that has given this program fits ever since the Pirates won the Big East Tournament over them in 2016. The Wildcats come into the Prudential Center on Saturday as Seton Hall looks to end the Big East regular season on a roll before the gauntlet that is the Big East Tournament starts next week.
Let it be known that every player who wears a Seton Hall jersey is ready for this game against Villanova. “My mindset today was kill everything and it’s going to stay kill everything until the season is over.” Powell told me, “I’m ready for Saturday.”