By DENNIS CHAMBERS NEWARK — With nine seconds left on the clock in Seton Hall’s second straight overtime appearance, freshman guard Myles Powell elevated in the lane and let the ball fly from his right hand.“Please drop,” Powell said of the thoughts going through his mind as he attempted the eventual game-winning shot. The sharpshooting rookie got his wish – as the ball clanked off the back of the rim and fell through the net – leading the Pirates to a 72-70 victory over Providence at Prudential Center.
Coming off a victory Saturday at Georgetown, the Pirates found themselves in their second straight overtime contest — their first such stretch since Dec. 9 and Dec. 22 of 2007, against Penn State and James Madison, respectively. “It was relief,” Powell said of the buzzer sounding. “Finally, we got another overtime win, and now it’s time to get back in the lab and get ready for Saturday.” After registering five losses in six tries spanning back to Jan. 11 on the road at Marquette, the Pirates chances at a second straight NCAA tournament appearance seemed bleak. Now winners of two straight, Seton Hall boasts a 15-8 overall record. More importantly they pulled themselves to 5-6 in Big East conference play heading into Saturday’s showdown at Madison Square Garden with St. John’s. “We’re really one game off where I thought we would be,” head coach Kevin Willard said of his team’s record. “Considering six of the first ten were on the road, we’re one game off. I thought maybe we would steal one of those on the road, I didn’t know which one but I didn’t think we’d go (zero) for our first five. Now, we have to play a tough St. John’s team … We understand what’s in front of us, the challenge that we have, but also the opportunity that we have.” Khadeen Carrington found his rhythm in a big way Wednesday night, scoring 21 points while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. The junior guard also played 44 minutes, ballooned some by the absence of Jevon Thomas. After struggling during the Pirates losing stretch, Carrington seems to have returned to form over the last two victories. “Being desperate,” Carrington said of the difference in his and his teammates play over the last two games. “Knowing that we have to get these wins, I think that’s what is really clicking. I think it wasn’t clicking in a lot of guys heads. I guess guys were thinking you could pick it up at the end. But you can’t really do that in this league, because this league will beat you up.” Following Saturday’s neutral sight meeting for the Pirates, they enter a three game home-stand against Creighton, Villanova, and Xavier, in that order. To keep their tournament hopes afloat, Seton Hall needs to execute down the stretch the way they did in overtime Wednesday night. “We had a lot of tough losses in the beginning,” Powell said of conference play. “They all came down to the wire. We know what to do and what not to do. We learned from our mistakes, and now as you see we’re coming out on top.” Piling up wins for Seton Hall will have to be a short-handed affair though it seems. Ismael Sanogo failed to suit up against Providence after injuring his ankle late in the game against Georgetown. Willard doesn’t foresee any reinforcements coming for the matchup with St. John’s, either. “I will know more tomorrow, but right now I will say no,” Willard said. “Ish will not play Saturday.” With just seven games remaining in the regular season, each more crucial than the last, Carrington isn’t worried about a short rotation. “There’s no time for being tired right now,” Carrington said. “That’s what I say during the huddle.” Photo: Steven Ryan Follow Dennis on Twitter Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And like ZAGS on Facebook
FINAL: SETON HALL 72 PROVIDENCE 70. Powell with the game-winner! pic.twitter.com/1HaZPRlC1s— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) February 9, 2017