by Josh AdamsFollow @ncaahoopsdigest
Newark- There’s not much that Myles Powell can’t do on the basketball court. Tonight, he once again put the Pirates on his back and scored 10 straight points late in the second half in the win to give Seton Hall a 64-57 win over DePaul. It’s the longest winning streak for a Seton Hall men’s basketball team since 1992-93. In a week that saw the untimely passing of a basketball legend, a coinicidence of numbers paid a tribute from Myles Powell to the Laker Legend.
This one wasn’t pretty. There was 47 fouls called in the game. Seton Hall went 14-29 from the free throw line. The Pirates were down 9 early in the second half. Frankly, the team looked like it was going through the motions for the bulk of the game. This easily with past Kevin Willard coached Seton Hall teams could have turned into one of those head scratching losses that would cause panic among the fanbase. There’s something about this year’s team that didn’t let that happen tonight. It’s not just Powell’s ability to take a game over. The play of Jared Rhoden tonight was a bright light when all looked dark for the Pirates. Rhoden put up a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and earned accolades from both Willard and Powell in the postgame press conference.
DePaul (13-8, 1-7) has as much talent as any other team in the Big East but conference play has been a nightmare for the Blue Demons. They were primed to upset the Pirates tonight and things were looking that way when they went up by nine early in the second half. You could tell that frustration was setting in at the Prudential Center as the 9,302 fans in attendence were fed up with both the Pirates play and the barrage of fouls called by the referees. The crowd was poised to take off with any sort of positve momemtum and Quincy McKnight provided that with an emphatic block off a Powell turnover that stopped a sure DePaul dunk at the six minute mark of the second half. That sequence seemed to give Powell’s game life and he responsed by going on a nine straight point barrage that put the game away for Seton Hall (16-4, 8-0).
“I’m starting to accept that I’m a second half player.”, Powell joked in the press conference after the game.
Tonight’s game had all the makings of an upset. Seton Hall was coming off a bye week playing on a Wednesday evening. Their All-American didn’t have his “A” game. The game had no flow due to the overreaching calls of the refs. DePaul was hungry for a win and had them on the ropes. As we celebrate Kobe Bryant’s legacy this week, Powell’s 24 points (also Kobe’s uniform number) served as a nice reminder about Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality.” Like Kobe, this team works hard and remained focused on a win even when the shots weren’t falling.
Powell thought of Kobe during tonight’s game and he summed up his thoughts eloquently after the contest. “It hurt my heart”, Powell said of Kobe’s passing.”When I looked at the scoreboard and I saw I scored 24 points I thought of Kobe and knew God was with us. He’s a hall of famer. Rest in peace to him.”