Gill's 17 points elevated the Pirates to a 78-62 win over GeorgetownDate: January 4, 2020
By: Heaven Hill
After their comeback win at DePaul on Dec. 30, the Seton Hall Pirates returned to Prudential Center Friday night and routed the Georgetown Hoyas 78-62. This win moved them to 2-0 in BIG East conference play and 10-4 overall on the season.
In this game, you could cut the tension with a knife. The Pirates faced an early 7-2 deficit after quick buckets from Mac McClung, who returned to the Hoyas lineup after missing their previous game with an eye injury, Terrell Allen, and Omer Yurtseven, who missed last season’s meetings due to transfer rules. These three players for Georgetown had to take on bigger roles with the dismissals and transfers of James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc, and the Hoyas came out solid on offense.
It was here where Seton Hall’s offense became a supernova, as they went on a 13-2 run before the under-16 media timeout. Myles Cale, who had been struggling with his shot all season until the previous game against DePaul, swished a three to start the run and another three in transition to force the timeout from the Hoyas. Jared Rhoden added a three as well to give the Pirates the lead, then he jumped a passing lane and got a fastbreak dunk for his efforts.
Finally, Quincy McKnight, who was Seton Hall’s leader offensively against Maryland and Prairie View A&M, had a layup and three assists during this run, adding to his assist to Romaro Gill for the first basket of the game. We’ll focus more on Gill later on, but McKnight, Cale and Rhoden’s quick offensive spurt set the tone of the night and gave the Pirates a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Georgetown came out of the timeout and got two quick buckets, but the Pirates responded with back-to-back threes from Cale to push the lead to 21-14. The teams traded buckets, including Gill finishing some thunderous dunks and tough layups and Myles Powell getting a nifty finish to go, before the Hall added another three from, you guessed it: Cale.
The same person who averaged 10 points a game last year on 38% from three but who hadn’t scored in double figures for a month until the DePaul game, had 15 points and five-three pointers in the first half and played like a man possessed. Simply put, a great turnaround in their last two outings, especially in this game where Powell couldn’t really find his outside shot.
Seton Hall headed into halftime with a 41-24 lead, despite not hitting a field goal over the last four and a half minutes. Cale paced everyone with his scorching start from behind the arc, while McKnight added seven points and six assists and Gill chipped in seven points of his own.
Speaking of Gill, this was possibly the best game of his career and he showed his full repertoire in the second half. Adding 10 more points after halftime, Gill made a ton of highlight plays, whether it was opening up the scoring in the second period with a tough layup, or a thunderous slam off an alley oop from Powell, or swatting both Yurtseven and McClung within a minute, Gill was phenomenal.
He displayed excellent defense, adding another four blocks against the Hoyas, keeping up with his four block per game average during this win streak. While Cale cooled off after halftime, Gill showed he can be a possible x-factor for this team, contributing on offense while putting Yurtseven in a straitjacket on defense. Gill might’ve fouled out of this one late, but his impact was felt without question.
The game began to wind down as Seton Hall continued to get whatever they wanted offensively, while playing great defense on the Hoyas. Powell, who struggled in the first half, was bound to heat up and he did just that with 12 points after halftime, including back-to-back threes that almost resulted in the Prudential Center caving in from crowd noise. Despite some late-game theatrics and technical fouls resulting in ejections on both sides, Seton Hall managed to pick up a huge conference win over a team that got more votes in the AP Top 25, no less.
All in all, Cale appears like he’s back to his old self, Gill played out of his mind on his way to a career high 17 points, Powell is still the most electrifying scorer in America, and the team is finally starting to coalesce offensively as conference play is underway. Oh, and Sandro Mamukelashvili is set to come back within weeks, so the sky is the limit for the Pirates.
Seton Hall returns to the road, this time to take on the Xavier Musketeers in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Jan. 8. Let’s see if they can continue this hot streak.
Heaven Hill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.