Myles Powell is a star in the Big East. Most people know that, but the nation should start to recognize him as one of the best guards in the game.
Powell had 29 points….in the first half against Georgetown in Seton Hall’s 73-57 win over the Hoyas to advance to the Big East semifinals on Friday.
Georgetown scored a total of 28 points in the first half. Let that sink in.
“Anytime he steps on the floor I expect to see that and so do his teammates,” Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard said. “Just Myles being Myles.”
Powell’s 29 points in the first half is a Big East Tournament record and broke Creighton’s Doug McDermott’s old record of 27 points in 2014.
In the end, Powell had 31 points and left the game with an injury, but said after the game that he is fine and ready to go for the semifinals against Marquette.
“That’s a good win,” Willard said. “I thought we played really well all game. We came out and did exactly what we wanted to do on offense and defense and set the tone.”
Myles Cale added in 14 points and four rebounds while Sandro Mamukelashvili had 12 points, 10 rebounds and two steals in the victory.
The Hoyas would make a run in the second half behind 15 points from James Akinjo and nine points from Mac McClung, but never were able to get within touching distance.
“We came out tonight really focused in what we wanted to do,” Willard said. “When we play the way we want to we are tough to beat.”
For Seton Hall, the key was their defense. It was strong for 40 minutes and rattled a young Hoyas team that for many of them experienced the Big East Tournament for the first time on Thursday night.
“Our whole game plan was to get young kids to stop and think,” Willard said, “The biggest thing for us was to get them to stop and think and to keep them off balance.”
For Powell, it was a memorable night and one of his best games as a Pirate. It will certainly be one he won’t forget and can share with his teammates just like his teammates share the with him on the court on the way to his big games.
“The best part about my teammates is that they are always looking for me and always cheering me on,” Powell said.
On having his name mentioned with other Big East greats, “It’s truly an honor to be put with that group of names.”
For Georgetown, this likely means that the Hoyas will be in the NIT and for a young team this could be a lesson learned, but one thing stood out most about the loss to their head coach.
“Turnovers hurt us,” Georgetown Coach Patrick Ewing said. “We went down big early and you’re trying to dig yourself out of a whole. Unforced turnovers killed us.”
The Hoyas went into the game knowing the stakes and knowing a tournament bid could be in the conversation with a win, but they had one of their worst halves of the season and it was too much to overcome.
“We have a good enough team where we could be playing tomorrow, Ewing said about missing out on the semifinals. “But because we didn’t come with the right focus or the right effort we didn’t get it done.”
Akinjo, the Big East’s freshman of the year, summed it up in one word.
“Maturity,” he said. “As a team we are not as mature as need to be right now.”
Experience can be the best teacher.
For Seton Hall, it is on to the semifinals to face the Marquette Golden Eagles in the second game of the doubleheader on Friday night at Madison Square Garden as they will look to get to a Big East Tournament Championship game for the first time since they won the title in 2016.