Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili had a wide open look late, but couldn’t get a potential game-winning three to fall as the Pirates dropped their Saturday night contest at home to Saint Louis 66-64.
Myles Powell led the Pirates in scoring once again, totaling 16 points, with 13 of them coming in the second half. Powell’s lack of offense in the first half led to the Pirates finding themselves down by five after 20 minutes.
In that first half, the lead changed hands numerous times, with 11 lead changes taking place over the first 13 minutes of the game. However, a Dion Wiley three-pointer with 5:48 remaining in the first half started an 11-2 run by the Billikens, giving them a lead they would not relinquish.
The Pirates scratched and clawed their way back into it in the second half, with Powell’s strong showing in the final 20 minutes being nearly matched by new point guard Quincy McKnight. The Sacred Heart transfer dropped 11 of his 14 points in the second half on 4-for-6 shooting.
After Saint Louis built a 12 point lead with 14:20 left in the game, Seton Hall began slowly chipping away at the deficit. The Pirates were able to cut the deficit back down to six with 9:25 left, and would eventually get to within one after a Powell three made it 65-64 with 11 seconds remaining.
Forced to intentionally foul, the Pirates sent Wiley to the line with eight seconds on the clock. After nailing the first freebie, Wiley clanged the second off the back iron. McKnight grabbed the rebound, turned and raced down the court. As he slashed to the basket and drew the defense in, McKnight passed out to a wide open Sandro Mamukelashvili, who missed what would have been the game-winner just before time expired.
“I looked at Myles, we were going to go dribble handoff, and when I got there there were two people on him,” McKnight said about what he saw on the game’s final play. “When I got in the lane...I saw Sandro at the top of the key wide open. Sandro is a great shooter...he got a good look at it, but sometimes that’s just how the ball bounces.”
“[McKnight] pushed it...found an open guy and got an open shot,” Head Coach Kevin Willard said about whether he wanted to go for the tie or the win on the final play. “I was happy.”
Seton Hall has now started the season 1-2 for the first time since the 1998-1999 season. The Pirates also saw their 29-game non-conference home winning streak snapped, which was tied for sixth best in the nation.
Next up for the Pirates is a trip out west to Fullerton, CA where they will take part in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. They will square off with Grand Canyon on Thanksgiving night at 9 PM ET.