No. 10 Seton Hall looks to regroup against Providence

NCAA Basketball
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Myles Powell has been the unquestioned leader in No. 10 Seton Hall’s run to the top of the Big East Conference.

But even the best players have bad games, as Powell did Wednesday night in the Pirates’ 87-82 home loss to Creighton. On a night where scoring came easily for most, it didn’t for Powell. The guy averaging nearly 22 points per game managed just 12 on 3-of-16 shooting, hitting just 1 of 11 from 3-point range.

“We can’t rely on him all the time,” teammate Quincy McKnight told reporters. “He’s going to have a game like this. We’ve just got to bounce back like we always do.”

Powell and Seton Hall will try to return to form Saturday night with a trip to Providence for a conference clash with the Friars, who are going through problems of their own. At 13-12 overall and 6-6 in the Big East, Providence hasn’t had the season it envisioned back in the fall.

The Friars’ latest loss came on Wednesday night, where it had trouble figuring out St. John’s pressure defense and lost 80-69 in Queens. Providence coughed up the ball 23 times, allowing the Red Storm to steal the ball on 12 occasions.

“I thought it was our inability to stay mentally dialed in. We knew it was coming,” Friars coach Ed Cooley told the Providence Journal of St. John’s tactics. “We played them before. Obviously, playing in this bandbox, they turn up the heat a little more. It was a bad performance by all of us.”

Starting guards David Duke and Maliek White combined for 11 turnovers. Another guard, Luwane Pipkins, came off the bench and hacked up four turnovers in only 20 minutes. The Red Storm converted those mistakes into 22 points.

Picked to finish fourth in the Big East’s preseason poll, Providence simply hasn’t played with the consistency needed to play in the conference’s upper echelon. It has shot poorly, canning only 40.5 percent from the field and 31.5 percent on 3-pointers, which has made its offense inefficient even though it’s scoring 70.1 points per game.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall (18-6, 10-2) still owns a two-game lead in the conference with six games remaining, although the loss to Creighton hurt on two fronts. It kept the Pirates from putting the Bluejays away in the conference race, and it could possibly hurt their seeding for next month’s NCAA Tournament.

While the gritty McKnight supplied 20 points and dished out six assists to pick up the slack for Powell, Seton Hall couldn’t manage to stop Creighton’s high-powered offense. The Bluejays canned 46 percent from the field, hitting 8 of 21 3-pointers, and sank 21 of 25 free throws.

“They just played a better basketball game than us today,” Pirates center Romaro Gill said.

Seton Hall is aiming for a season sweep of the Friars. In the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 22 in Newark, the Pirates took a 73-64 win as Gill dominated inside with 17 points, eight blocked shots and six rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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