Seton Hall basketball: All cylinders fire in romp of Georgetown as NCAA bid

NEWARK—It looked like a mismatch from hell. Seton Hall guard Myles Powell got stuck in the paint guarding Georgetown’s star postman, 6-foot-10, 260-pound Jessie Govan.

But Powell not only stood his ground—he drew the charge.

That’s the kind of night it was for the Pirates, who did everything right in drubbing the Hoyas 90-75 before a crowd of 7,000 at the Prudential Center.

With its best performance in months, Seton Hall (15-9 overall, 6-6 Big East) completed a crucial sweep of its two-game homestand. More importantly, the Pirates looked every bit like an NCAA Tournament team.

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Powell scored 30 points to lead the way as the Hall moved into a two-way tie for third place in the Big East with St. Johns.

Georgetown (15-10, 5-7) now leads the series 57-48, but Seton Hall has won six of the past seven—including four straight in Newark.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS

1. Mike Nzei set the tone. In a matchup where rebounding was a huge concern, the postgrad senior dominated the glass early on. He grabbed six offensive boards in the first half alone and finished with 18 points and nine boards. Interesting stat: Nzei now has 83 wins as a Pirate, 10th in program history. He probably won’t catch the record of 93 held jointly by Arturas Karnishovas and Bryan Caver (1990-94), but there’s a fair chance he could catch the great Terry Dehere in third (88).

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2. Mamu responds. Georgetown’s size required a big effort by Sandro Mamukelashvili, and after four straight rough outings, the sophomore forward delivered. He posted 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, made all three of of his triples and did the yeoman’s work of bodying up Govan. As a player who thrives on confidence, he faced a telling crossroads midway through the first half after getting posterized on a 3-point play. Mamukelashvili responded by throwing down a driving windmill, setting off an explosion in the stands. An appreciative student section belted out a “Ma-Mu” chant.

3. Moderate subbing pays off. After a four-man substitution halted the Pirates’ early momentum in Saturday’s squeaker over Creighton, Willard changed things up. After riding his starters to a 23-9 lead over the first seven minutes, he sent just two subs into the game—Shavar Reynolds and Romaro Gill. The moderation worked; the Hall kept pouring it on. Sophomore forward Taurean Thompson, who served a one-game conduct suspension Saturday, dressed but did not play.   

4. Solid homecoming for Jagan Mosely. The Marlboro native and former St. Anthony High School standout, a junior guard, played well with eight points and five assists in 27 minutes off the bench. He came in averaging 2.8 points and 2.3 assists in 16 minutes per game.

5. Now comes the hard part. With six games left, can the Hall find three wins? That should punch a Big Dance ticket given how soft the bubble looks. The Pirates will be favored in just one more game—Xavier’s visit Feb. 20. The rest of the schedule is challenging: at Creighton Sunday, at St. John’s Feb. 23, at Georgetown March 2 and the grand finale homestand of 10th-ranked Marquette (March 6) and 13th-ranked Villanova (March 9).

Staff writer Jerry Carino: jcarino@gannettnj.com.

Published 10:37 PM EST Feb 13, 2019