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Powell, Pirates fall just short against Michigan State

The main event of the Gavitt Games certainly didn’t disappoint.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For someone who wasn’t even going to be able to play in the game due to an ankle injury, Myles Powell sure had an incredible performance in Seton Hall’s 76-73 loss to Michigan State Thursday evening in Newark.

The senior guard surprised many people when it was announced that he would be starting just four days after an ankle injury that head coach Kevin Willard warned would lead to a “prolonged absence” for Powell.

Questions about his effectiveness for Seton Hall were answered relatively quickly, as Powell was responsible for six of Seton Hall’s first 11 points, knocking down three free throws and a three pointer early in the first half. That pace would continue for the entire first 20 minutes, as Powell was responsible for 13 of Seton Hall’s 27 points going into the break, playing 16 of 20 minutes. Romaro Gill also kept Seton Hall in the game in the first half, being a force to be reckoned with in the paint and hauling in seven rebounds. Gill didn’t score in the half, but his contributions on the defensive side were a big reason the Pirates trailed by just three going into the locker room.

With a rocking Prudential Center crowd ready to see the Pirates pick up a huge win, the fun really started in the second half. Myles Cale hit a three following a Powell layup to give Seton Hall the lead, and the teams would continue trading blows throughout the final 20 minutes, including a particularly amazing stretch where Michigan State All-American Cassius Winston hit a three to put the Spartans up four, then Sandro Mamukelashvili hit one, then Powell hit two in a row to swing the lead to five in Seton Hall’s favor in a matter of two minutes. Winston wasn’t done though. He and Rocket Watts each hit a three, and Michigan State took a one point lead into the final minute. Powell tried another three and was fouled, hitting two of three free throws to put the Pirates back on top by a point, but it was ultimately a Hall that did The Hall in, as Malik Hall hit a go-ahead layup with 25 seconds to play to put Michigan State up 74-73. After a pair of questionable no-calls on the Seton Hall end, Winston added two more free throws and a Powell three at the buzzer fell short to end the game.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo had nothing but positive things to say about Powell after the game.

Powell finished the night with 37 points and six three pointers, along with six rebounds in 34 minutes of action.

Winston led Michigan State with 21 points, as the two guards showed why they’re two of the best in the nation.

The Big Ten wins the Gavitt Games by a 5-3 margin for the second straight year. Seton Hall will return to action Sunday against Saint Louis.