SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — The 12th-ranked team in the country filled the home white uniforms. One of the best guards in the country stood among these Seton Hall Pirates. And then there was the extra-large crowd with Myles Powell, including a pair of 7-2 towers and a 6-11 power forward with a three-point touch.
This game looked as if it would be a tall challenge for Stony Brook on Saturday at Walsh Gymnasium. But Powell limped off for good with a sprained left ankle and zero points 3:31 into the game. Without the preseason All-American, the Pirates appeared mortal for a long while, and the Seawolves appeared capable of staging a huge upset.
Stony Brook was right there in the neighborhood with the Big East favorites until the final six minutes. Seton Hall finally pulled away and claimed a 74-57 win.
“I hope we showed people that we can play with anybody,” junior guard Elijah Olaniyi said. “A couple of those threes go down late, it’s a different story right now.”
The Seawolves, picked for third in the America East after a 24-win season, fell to 0-2. But this was a good learning experience.
“For 33 minutes, I think you take super-encouragement away, even 35 minutes,” coach Geno Ford said. “The last five minutes, we went total out of gas.”
Ford added that the Seawolves could use better bench play to guard against that late fatigue. They also were hurt by 6-for-25 three-point shooting.
“I think they’ll go in percentage-wise over the course of the year,” he said.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said his team might be without Powell for a “prolonged” time. Sandro Mamukelashvili, that 6-11 power forward, stepped forward with 17 points and Quincy McKnight had 14 for the Pirates (2-0).
Makale Foreman topped Stony Brook with 16 points. Mouhamadou Gueye contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Olaniyi had 14 points and six rebounds.
Miles Latimer missed a three-pointer that would’ve given the Seawolves the lead, and Anthony Nelson countered with a three to give Seton Hall a 47-43 advantage with 10:38 to play. The Pirates extended the margin to 51-45 when 7-2 Romaro Gill (10 points, 10 rebounds) scored in the lane.
Stony Brook got within 53-49 on a long jumper by Foreman. McKnight responded by burying a three from the left wing but Olaniyi hit a layup, and it was 56-51 with 6:12 left. Then McKnight hit a jumper, triggering a 6-0 burst for an 11-point lead.
“Once Myles went out, they clogged the lane a lot,” McKnight said. “It was hard for us to score. They’re definitely going to be a good team in their conference.”
Said Foreman, “I think it’s going to build confidence for us going on into the year and it’s going to help us in other games we have going on throughout the year.”