Myles Powell's 19 points led all scorers in Seton Hall's win over Georgetown, one in which Kevin Willard raved about his sophomore guard's enthusiasm. (Photo by Bob Dea/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
NEWARK, NJ -- Seton Hall honored a beacon of its past Saturday afternoon, and the recognition spurred its current roster to play an inspired brand of basketball that served as an even more appropriate tribute to those that came before them.
On a day where members of the Pirates' 1992-93 squad, the only one in program history to win both the Big East Conference regular season and tournament championships, Seton Hall recovered from a 20-point road loss at Marquette Tuesday night, holding serve at home with a 74-61 victory over Georgetown at the Prudential Center.
As they have done in several other recent games, the Pirates (15-3, 4-1 Big East) were slow out of the gate, allowing the visiting Hoyas (12-5, 2-4 Big East) to build a 10-point lead with just under seven minutes gone by before Seton Hall clamped down defensively, holding Georgetown without a field goal for the final 5:31 of the first half, turning the stout defense into a 33-10 offensive run that flipped the game on its head and set the tone for a second half that was more a methodical approach to handling business than anything else.
With a trip to Creighton awaiting the Pirates in their next endeavor Wednesday night, we offer a handful of observations from their weekend resurgence, staying near the top of the league standings as past met present, with the future being observed at its latest peak in the process:
1) An enduring legacy.
Prior to the opening tip, several members of Seton Hall's 1992-93 team, including head coach P.J. Carlesimo, were made available to the media in a session that took place in one of the Prudential Center suites, where the former Pirates were able to wax poetic and nostalgic on their exploits, while also offering thoughts on how far this year's group can go, solidifying the staying power South Orange continues to hold on the national landscape.
"Seton Hall has always been about the New York metropolitan area," said Carlesimo, who used his time with the Pirates to springboard an NBA career that saw him coach four different franchises and players the likes of Clyde Drexler, Latrell Sprewell, and Kevin Durant, among others. "Any great Seton Hall team had Jersey kids and New York City kids. That's always been what this program is about."
"They're going to sustain it," he said of the program and its ability to stay relevant. "It's not easy to sustain in a conference like the Big East nowadays, but as long as Kevin's here, they're going to do that."
"They're legends," Angel Delgado added. "That's what we're trying to be too. Seeing these guys come here and support us is great, and I was really happy for that."
2) Myles more to go on the road to superstardom.
Myles Powell's game-high 19 points were also marked by the first time the sophomore led the Pirates in shots taken for a game, as his 16 attempts were three clear of his next closest teammate, Delgado. After Kevin Willard praised Powell's play as "infectious," calling Seton Hall a much better basketball team when his enthusiasm takes center stage, his young talent doubled down on his intent to remedy a self-admitted rough patch.
"I was just getting over my sickness," said Powell, whose flu-like symptoms in recent games had an adverse effect on his performance at Marquette. "My four seniors came to me and they've been telling me to shoot the ball. They said I haven't been bringing the same energy, so today, that's what I did. I tried to bring the energy on the offensive and defensive floor, and it worked. I'm the fuel to the fire, so they need me to keep going."
"He's the type of guy that he listens all the time," Delgado said of Powell, someone he has frequently regarded as a younger brother figure, taking him under his wing the past two years. "I give advice every day to him, and he takes it. That's why he's playing so good right now. He knows I love him with all my heart."
3) When I'm Sixty-Four.
Delgado's latest double-double, which he amassed with 11 points and 13 rebounds, was the 64th of his career and 14th of the season. It did not come easy, however, as he was held to just two points in the first half as Georgetown limited his impact for most of the opening stanza, using the combination of Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson to neutralize the All-America candidate.
"The first half, our defense was really bad," said Delgado, deflecting from his individual accolades, per usual. "In the second half, we just picked it up and we got the win. I just always think I'm the best post defender in the country. I'm not going to let anybody outplay me. That's my mentality."
Delgado made more of an impact on the game over the final 20 minutes, proving Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing prophetic when he said earlier in the week that Delgado reminded him of Moses Malone, the Hall of Fame center to whom St. John's head coach Chris Mullin also compared the 6-foot-10 Dominican to last season.
"You don't even know," a proud Delgado admitted when asked what it was like to hear a luminary such as Ewing praise him so effusively. "I read that thing, like, 20 times. He's one of the players I look to, how he played. I want to be like him, so to hear that from him, it's unbelievable. That got me going a little more, seeing him out there."
4) Ish infusing offense?
In Tuesday's loss to Marquette, one of the high points was Sanogo attempting, and making, a pair of three-point field goals as the Pirates attempted to come back against the Golden Eagles. Four days after just the second and third triples of his career, the versatile forward chipped in with a more understated eight points and six rebounds, continuing a surge in his play since returning from a one-game suspension on December 28 against Creighton.
"He's helping me a lot," said Delgado of Sanogo's contributions on the scoreboard. "Him, Mike (Nzei) -- he's making a lot of jump shots right now, and he's working on it. We've got confidence in him. He didn't take it (jumpers) before, but he takes it in practice, so why not? We've got a lot of confidence in him, and for me, I could give it to him and he can shoot it all day."
"When he's stopping people on the other end and he's helping us on the offensive end, there's nothing really you can say to Ish," Powell gushed. "He does everything."
5) The next Delgado?
Jessie Govan, whose go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute Tuesday night proved to be the decisive shot that lifted Georgetown to victory over St. John's, took a big step toward becoming the heir apparent among Big East big men next season, when Delgado will have graduated. Although held to just two points after halftime, the junior from Queens Village still posted a respectable 11 points on the day, and more than held his own against Delgado through the majority of the afternoon before foul trouble in the second half compromised his final line.
"I thought he battled him, bumped him, made him work for everything," Ewing said of Govan, the former standout for Billy Turnage at Wings Academy in the Bronx. "Unfortunately, we just didn't get it done."
"He's great," Delgado said of his counterpart. "I've played against Jessie for a long time, and every time I play against him, he gets better."