The Georgetown Hoyas (3-6) will host the Seton Hall Pirates (8-1) on Wednesday night. The (expected) 8:30PM tip will be featured on FS1. (Whether Mac McClung plays is TBD (see Ben Standig’s tweet below), but the “bus accident” rumor is a sick and cruel joke.)
While Georgetown is coming off a comeback-road-upset at St. John’s, Seton Hall is picking up the pieces after their 10-game winning streak ended with a home shellacking at the hands of a desperate Xavier. On Saturday, the Pirates suffered from many of the similar symptoms plaguing the Hoyas’ slow starts recently—poor shooting/shot selection, inconsistent rebounding, and lethargic defense. It’s a game of runs and no one is immune to momentum.
Seeing their first loss in conference play likely indicates that Myles Powell and Seton Hall will not make the same mistake four days later in D.C., but perhaps the Pirates are looking ahead to their Saturday visit to Villanova. Hopefully the Hoyas can carry some momentum in and keep the Hall on the ropes before they know what hit them.
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The sole highlight may have been holding Player of the Year candidate Myles Powell to 15 points on 6-17 from the field. While Powell’s “buddy” (and aspiring Defensive Player of the Year) Jagan Mosely deserves much of the credit, the extra focus by the team likely opened the doors for big games by Myles Cale and Romaro Gill. Seton Hall took advantage of the Hoyas’ hard hedge on screens and found the rolling center or an open perimeter sniper often. Quincy McKnight had 10 assists and Powell had 6 feeds.
The Pirate defense focused on Omer Yurtseven, holding him to 3 for 14 shooting and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes. Yurtseven looked, at times, physically out-matched and scared to further jeopardize his foul trouble.
Xavier, which has won three straight road games in this series, came in desperate and it showed. The Musketeers dominated the glass to the tune of 51-22, routing the Pirates 18-0 in second-chance points. “We got taken to the woodshed,” Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “We didn’t have good energy out there today. That first unit, I thought they had bad body language.” After trailing by 12 at the half, Seton Hall cut the deficit to seven and the crowd was on its feet, but all the air got sucked out of the building when McKnight went down with six minutes left. He landed awkwardly on his left leg.
Overall I consider this great news and I'm happy for Quincy McKnight (@__AyooQ) and @SetonHallMBB. I'm not sure either party could have expected or gotten better news after watching how McKnight came down on his knee (scary) in Saturday's home game vs @XavierMBB. https://t.co/KxV1wseyYR— BIG EAST BUCKETS (@BIGEAST_BUCKETS) February 3, 2020
Mamukelashvili will be eased in as the calendar flips to February and inches towards March. His next opportunity to get game action comes in an early morning tip against Xavier on Saturday in Newark, and if all goes well, he’ll have three games under his belt when the Pirates head to Philadelphia to face Villanova in a battle of the Big East’s best. “Sandro brings a different aspect to the game for us with his versatility,” McKnight said. “He’s going to get into a groove.”
At the time of his injury, Mamukelashvili was averaging 10.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting a team-best 43.5 percent from 3-point range. Without him, Seton Hall fared far better than expected, a credit to the play of sophomore Jared Rhoden and freshman Tyrese Samuel in his place. Rhoden, in particular, has performed well, averaging 9.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in the 10 games Mamukelashvili missed. But getting Mamukelashvili back gives Seton Hall added depth and the ability to match up better with smaller teams that will look to stretch the floor. It will allow Willard to use Rhoden at the three, which is his more natural position, and even play Mamukelashvili at the five on occasion.
Player of the Year ... 1. Myles Powell, 6-2 senior guard, Seton Hall. Powell has suffered a concussion and withstood a serious ankle injury, but he has put the Pirates on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the the Big East standings as well as into the national rankings. Despite withering attention from opposing defenses, he is averaging 22.4 points per game (ninth in the U.S.), 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals.
Atlantic City native Naji Marshall had a big game for Xavier, holding Powell to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting and 1-of-9 defensively while tallying 19 points and 10 rebounds on the offensive end...
Jared Rhoden (13 points, five rebounds) played well for Seton Hall but did most of his work in the first half. Romaro Gill, who had been dominating opponents on both ends for much of Big East play, had a quiet game with two points, five rebounds and two blocks...
Xavier sprinted out of the gate to leads of 18-2, 22-4 and 30-6 before the Pirates showed signs of life. The Pirates closed the first half on a 17-5 spurt thanks largely to Rhoden to close within 35-23 at the break.
Instead, Georgetown got 23 points (and five 3s) from reserve guard Jahvon Blair, and a game-winning Jagan Mosely/Omer Yurtseven combination with 10 seconds to play, to cap a massive 73-72 comeback win — one coach Patrick Ewing called “season-defining.” It was big, to be sure. But it was also just St. John’s. The Hoyas, happy as they were with the comeback, still have a long way to go to be sure about dancing, beginning (and possibly ending) with Wednesday’s home game against Seton Hall. Sunday was big, but every game is big for Georgetown now.
Seeing Twitter talk about Mac Mac McClung's injury that kept him out of the St. John's game perhaps related to an unreported team bus accident? Hmmm. I'm told no accident occurred. Injury standard hoops wear & tear.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) February 4, 2020
Ewing today w/media where he'll be asked for a Mac update.
UPDATE TUES 12:30 PM:
Ewing said McClung hurt his foot in practice the day before St. John’s https://t.co/Zgw6VUCnPQ— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) February 4, 2020
McClung was seen walking without crutches or a brace.— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) February 4, 2020