NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Myles Powell has carried Seton Hall all season and he did it again in what might have been the Pirates’ biggest game of the season.
Coming off a season-low three-point game against Villanova over the weekend, Powell scored 31 points and Seton Hall snapped a four-game losing streak by rallying from a seven-point, second-half deficit to beat Providence 65-63 on Wednesday night.
“We needed it bad,” Powell said after the Pirates (13-8, 4-5 Big East) put themselves back in the hunt for a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament bid. “We were desperate for a win. We were going hard all week in practice, saying we had to get this one.”
Seton Hall was coming off an embarrassing 80-52 loss to the defending national champions on Sunday, and they really had to dig deep to win this one.
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“In practice we have been saying with every game our season is on the line,” said guard Quincy McKnight, who converted a go-ahead three-point play with 2:57 to play to give the Pirates a 63-61 lead. “We believe it is. We want our season to end great. We don’t want to be a low seed. We are looking at these next nine games as we need to win.”
Seton Hall also won because it got a huge block from Romaro Gill on a game-tying layup attempt by Isaiah Jackson in the waning seconds in avenging a loss to Providence (13-7, 3-5) earlier this month.
“Coach just subbed me back in cause they put in (Nate) Watson,” said Gill, who just returned to the lineup Sunday after missing five games with an ankle injury. “They figured they were going to post him up. They had all the bigs in there. I didn’t know Jackson was going to try to do whatever. I was just there helping. I saw him attempt to make that layup and I contested and got it.”
Taurean Thompson added eight points and nine rebounds for Seton Hall.
Alpha Diallo had 21 points to lead Providence, which had a two-game winning streak snapped. Jackson finished with nine points and David Duke added eight for the Friars, who shot 38 percent from the field.
“Definitely a winnable game,” Diallo said. “We lost by two, so (if) I did a couple things differently we probably win the game. I had two bad turnovers down the stretch, so that’s something I can work on and change. Hopefully we get the next one on the road.”
Providence used a 15-0 run early in the second half to take a 42-36 lead. The Friars twice built the lead to seven points, before Seton Hall rallied behind Powell. He had nine points in a 16-7 run that allowed the Pirates to take a 56-54 lead.
Diallo gave Providence its final lead with a 3-pointer with 4:22 to go, but McKnight’s basket with just under three minutes left gave the Hall a 63-61 lead.
A steal and dunk by Powell, who was 12 of 23 from the field, and two free throws by Jackson were the only other points scored in the game.
“I told the team the other day we can’t go five minutes without Myles Powell touching the ball,” Pirates coach Kevin Willard said. “We got here riding his back. Let’s not play make believe. This guy got us here and there were times we going too long without him touching the basketball. I thought he came out from the start being aggressive and that set the tone.”
Despite turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, Seton Hall led 34-27 at the half. Powell was the difference, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.
Providence: At DePaul on Saturday.
Seton Hall: At Butler on Saturday.
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