Last year, a quiet performance from Myles Powell would’ve equaled defeat. Even as recently as a month ago, it would’ve meant major trouble for Seton Hall.
But not now, not with the way the Pirates’ supporting cast is performing. Stifled by talented Providence defender David Duke and frequent double-teams Wednesday night, the National Player of the Year candidate wasn’t his usual productive self. His looks were limited, his openings nonexistent. He attempted just six shots.
And it didn’t matter. His teammates picked up the slack, leading No. 10 Seton Hall to its ninth straight victory, 73-64 over Providence at the loud Prudential Center in Newark to remain perfect atop the Big East.
Ever-improving center Romaro Gill brought down the house late in the second half, throwing down a high-reel slam from outside of the paint as the shot clock was winding down to push the Seton Hall lead to nine. It was the exclamation point to another brilliant night from the 7-foot-2 Jamaica native, who finished with 17 points, eight blocked shots and six rebounds, and has now reached double figures in six straight games. Jared Rhoden continued to fill in ably for injured starter Sandro Mamukelashvili, notching 15 points and eight rebounds, and Quincy McKnight was again a rock at the point, with 11 points and eight assists.
Rhoden spearheaded a 10-4 run, sinking a baby jumper and putting back his own offensive rebound, to give Seton Hall (15-4, 7-0 Big East) a commanding 63-54 lead with 5:55 left. Appropriately, Powell (14 points) was on the bench for the end of the spurt. The Pirates didn’t need his best against Providence. When the Friars got within five in the final minute, Rhoden put them away with a backdoor layup on a McKnight feed.
Despite Powell’s slow start and even though Seton Hall shot just 2 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half, it led by four at intermission. Gill was the story of the opening 20 minutes, scoring 13 points, blocking four shots and dunking everything in sight. After absorbing a 13-4 Providence run, the Pirates closed the half strong, on a Gill slam and Shavar Reynolds 3-pointer. Duke did as good a job as anyone has on Powell in the first half, limiting him to just four shot attempts. But Seton Hall went elsewhere for offense, with six others scoring in a balanced effort and notching 11 assists on 14 made field goals.
Powell started the second half with a layup and soon the lead would be up to nine. Providence, however, quickly reeled off five straight points, refusing to go away. The Friars went cold from the field, but their productivity on the offensive glass kept them close. At one point early in the second, they had an 11-3 edge in offensive rebounds.
Alpha Diallo led Providence (11-9, 4-3) with 13 points and Nate Watson had 10.