It was the Myles Powell show on Thursday night, as Seton Hall’s star put up a career-high 40 points in the Pirates’ 82-75 win over Grand Canyon in the opening game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament.
Much of the speculation surrounding this year’s team ended with the answer that Powell would become the focal point of the Pirates’ offense. The Trenton, N.J. native did more than answer the call on the night, hitting jump shot after jump shot and finishing with the second-highest scoring mark in a single game for a player at the Wooden Legacy.
Amazingly enough, Powell only took 16 shots and shot 75 percent from the field.
On the back of Powell, Seton Hall commanded the tempo of the game early on and jumped out to an 18-10 lead.
As Grand Canyon continued to make the game competitive, Powell kept providing answers for the Pirates. After playing in the first 15 minutes of the game, he only took a short break before finishing the half.
Sandro Mamukelashvili made his contributions count in the first half as well. He gobbled up six rebounds, an assist and a block to go with three points. As Seton Hall finished up a clumsy possession with under a minute left in the half, Mamukelashvili relished the possession with an emphatic two-handed dunk to give the Pirates a 40-36 edge.
The Pirates continued to control the game for much of the second half but had to stymie Grand Canyon comebacks as well as make one of their own.
Leading 69-62 with under five minutes remaining, Seton Hall’s two-three zone defense allowed open shots that let Grand Canyon back in the game. After Taurean Thompson converted two free throws, his positioning in the zone allowed a wide-open three-pointer that gave Grand Canyon the lead.
With a little over a minute of game time remaining, though, Powell drained a side-stepping three-pointer to give Seton Hall the advantage yet again. Powell later finished a two-on-one fast break layup that would give him the career-high marker in points.
On the next defensive possession, Powell had a steal and outlet pass that led to a Myles Cale windmill dunk to ice the game.
With the win, Seton Hall snaps a two-game losing streak and is back to the .500 mark, sitting at 2-2.
The Pirates return to the hardwood on Friday as they take on Hawaii. Game time is set for 11:30 p.m. EST on ESPN 2.
Evando Thompson can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Thompsev.