WSOU

No.13 Seton Hall could not hang on to lead over Oregon in 71-69 defeat in Battle 4 Atlantis opener

Date: November 28, 2019

By: Justin Morris

The Seton Hall men’s basketball team came out on the wrong side of a crushing 71-69 defeat at the hands of the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

They had a 19-point advantage at one time during the second half, but small chips from Oregon and few well-timed runs were enough to put them right back in the game’s contention. They were able to tie the game with just under a minute to go, and in their final possession, an air- balled three from Payton Pritchard fell right into the lap of Newark’s own Shakur Juiston under the basket for an easy layup, and Oregon sealed the game as the closing seconds tipped off of the clock.

The loss was wildly disappointing for a No. 13 ranked Hall squad that was looking to make a splash in their non-conference schedule, and a victory against No. 11 Oregon would’ve been a great win to add to their resume in terms of nationwide rankings for next week’s poll. They’ll also miss out on big opportunities to increase that ranking further, as they would’ve had chances to face No. 8 Gonzaga and No. 6 North Carolina in a potential championship matchup had they won vs. Oregon.

Instead, they’ll matchup with lowly Southern Mississippi (2-4) tomorrow night, who was beaten down by the Zags in the first round 94-69, and Iowa State if they win the first. The game against Oregon began just as coach Willard and company hoped it would. Their defense was able to hold pre-season Pac-12 first teamer Payton Pritchard on the offensive end, and Oregon coach Dana Altman was forced to take him out early into the first half as he the Pirates forced him into foul trouble on defense.

Sandro Mamukelashvili, whose performance Willard criticized after their matchup with A&M got off to a hot start on defense, swatting away two shots along with teammate Ike Obiagu to batten down the middle of the floor. Myles Powell had ten first half points, but the most notable play involving him came after one of his made threes. He sunk the basket near the Oregon bench, and it looked as if Duck freshman Lok Wur lifted his leg in attempt to trip the star guard, which was met with obvious frustration from Powell.

This opened up the flood gates for the second half. Powell, who was visibly upset with the trip exploded in the second half. He hit three straight threes to begin, helping to stretch a 34-30 lead to 49-33, and eventually up to 19. He would finish with a 7-15 mark from beyond the arc, but six of his made threes came in a row.

Closing games though, which had been a theme of emphasis since last year though, once again showed up as an obvious problem with this team. Oregon was led back by Pritchard, rebounding and silly foul from the Pirates. Their numbers at the free throw line were 16-28 compared to the Hall’s 7-9, and they got countless opportunities at the stripe during the second half. They also outrebounded the Pirates 39-28, with Gill and Mamukelashvili pulling down four each, and Obiagu finishing the game with just one, far from meeting Willard’s expectations.

The Pirates will have to make some quick adjustments between meals Thursday, as they’ll be right back in action in the game’s consolation round on Thanksgiving night. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m.

Justin Morris can be reached at justin.morris@student.shu.edu.

Posted in: Sports, WSOU, Men's Basketball

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