PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP)Myles Powell struggled to get in an early rhythm as No. 13 Seton Hall closed its three-game stay in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Yet the way coach Kevin Willard saw it, it was just a matter of time before he would.
Powell scored 19 of his 24 points after halftime to help Seton Hall beat Iowa State 84-76 in Friday night’s fifth-place game, giving the Pirates two wins after an opening-round loss to No. 11 Oregon.
”He plays so hard that defenders, they’ll stick with him for the first half,” Willard said. ”Then, usually in the second half, he’s going to come get you.”
Powell, a preseason Associated Press All-American, made just 2 of 9 shots in the opening half. He made 7 of 10 after the break, including three 3-pointers, for the Pirates (6-2).
”I know my team’s going to go as I go,” Powell said. ”So I just tried to come out and feed on defense first and the game just came to me.”
Sandro Mamukelashvili added 18 points for the Pirates, who finally took control with a 12-2 second-half run. The run included Powell burying a 3 over Tre Jackson at the 6:12 mark, then pointing emphatically at his shooting elbow as he got back on defense.
Later, Mamukelashvili hit his own 3 off a feed from Powell for a 76-65 lead with 4:38 left to cap the 12-2 run. It was also part of a run of five straight made shots for the Pirates, while the Cyclones went 1 for 7 during those key minutes.
Previously, neither team had led by more than six in the second half, and the Pirates didn’t let that margin slip below six again.
Seton Hall shot 61% for the second half and 54% for the game, the first of two in a row against Iowa State due to a quirk in the schedule.
Rasir Bolton scored 20 points for the Cyclones (4-3), who led by nine midway through the first half. Tyrese Haliburton added 19 points and seven assists.
”We were really in a good rhythm early,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. ”And then they raised it up a notch, and we didn’t weather that storm enough. We got flustered. We took some bad shots.”
Seton Hall: The Pirates had a test-filled stay in the Bahamas. First came the opener against Oregon, with Seton Hall rolling to a 19-point lead only to blow that lead and lose on a late bucket. They had to bring more energy to a losers’ bracket game to finally put away Southern Miss in the latest game on Thursday’s schedule, then pulled away late in this one.
”I said (the Oregon loss) doesn’t stop where we are as a program, where we are as a team,” Willard said. ”I said the only thing that stops us is if we don’t get two wins. And they responded tremendously.”
Iowa State: The Cyclones had a tough time defensively in the tournament opener against eventual champion Michigan, though they bounced back to beat Alabama on Thursday behind a near-triple-double from Haliburton. They traded plenty of baskets with the Pirates before Seton Hall pulled away.
The game was also played amid a power outage at parts of the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. The lights in Imperial Arena went out for a few seconds twice, once during halftime and later during a play as Haliburton drove for a scooping layup with 11:02 left.
The arena went dark as the ball was bouncing off the backboard before it went through the net. Fans broke out cellphones and turned on their flashlight apps in the seconds before the lights quickly came back on, and then Iowa State fans started chanting ”Count it!” as officials discussed what to do about Haliburton’s drive.
Officials complied, and the game continued without further (electrical) drama.
”I just stopped moving because they said don’t move,” Haliburton said, adding: ”I just wanted to make sure they counted the basket.”
Seton Hall: The Pirates visit the Cyclones on Dec. 8.
Iowa State: The Cyclones host Kansas City on Wednesday to tune up for their Seton Hall rematch.
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