Seton Hall’s trip to Boston College this past weekend revealed some interesting tidbits regarding Kevin Willard’s young Pirates squad.
In impressive fashion, Seton Hall knocked off an NCAA Tournament caliber Boston College team, 76-62. The Eagles were missing potential All-ACC big man Nik Popovic on the afternoon, but still featured preseason All-American Ky Bowman in the backcourt and top-100 recruit Jarius Hamilton on the wing in his first collegiate action.
The Pirates were without Taurean Thompson, who was dressed but sat out due to an illness. With Thompson sidelined, Michael Nzei slid into the starting lineup, Sandro Mamukelashvili led the team with 33 minutes played and Romaro Gill impressed with 10 points on 4-6 shooting and five rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Myles Powell led the team in scoring with 25 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, but only shot 2-7 from beyond the arc. The junior guard did a good job getting to the free throw line, though, making 9-10 from the charity stripe. Powell’s success at the line rubbed off on the rest of the team, as Seton Hall shot 22-28 on the game – a notable improvement over the Pirates’ average numbers at the line a year ago.
At point guard, Quincy McKnight made his Seton Hall debut while splitting time with freshman Anthony Nelson. The veteran McKnight played 23 minutes, while Nelson played 21. Neither brought much to the table in terms of scoring, but both did an excellent job of distributing and taking care of the ball. The duo combined for only five turnovers on the afternoon and McKnight only coughed it up twice, which is an encouraging sign. In his final year at Sacred Heart, McKnight averaged 4.5 turnovers per game due to heavy usage and frequent double teams. As the season progresses, it’s worth watching to see if McKnight’s turnover numbers climb.
On the wing, Myles Cale struggled with his shooting (4-9), but put up 11 points and turned in a solid showing on the defensive end. Freshman Jared Rhoden saw 14 minutes and put up eight points as he works his way back into action following offseason shoulder surgery. Willard has gushed over Rhoden throughout the preseason and if his minutes against Boston College are any indication, he could be in line for a large chunk of playing time as he gets comfortable playing in the Big East.
Overall, there is a lot for Seton Hall to build on following the scrimmage. Defeating a veteran-laden ACC team like Boston College is no easy task and the Pirates did it on the road, nonetheless. Again, it is just a scrimmage, but it says a lot about an experience team to go on the road and defeat a top-tier program.
With Saturday’s exhibition game in the books, the focus now shifts to regular season action. Seton Hall opens against Wagner in Walsh Gym on Nov. 6. The win over Boston College gave fans an early glimpse of what this team is capable of and now, it’s time for the Pirates to translate preseason to success into regular season victories.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.