An early-season upset of Kentucky showed a young and unproven Seton Hall squad what was possible. Now, the Pirates will forever be left wondering what they could have done with another crack at the Wildcats.
Myles Powell will forever be left wondering what he could have done with a few more chances to dance.
Despite fighting back from a 16-point deficit to take a late lead behind Powell’s latest brilliant and determined second-half performance, 10th-seeded Seton Hall was unable to extend its unlikely season, and fell to seventh-seeded Wofford, 84-68, in Thursday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Powell, the only returning starter from the first Pirates team to win an NCAA Tournament game in 14 years, appeared set to will Seton Hall to another unlikely victory by scoring 23 of his 27 points in the second half, but the star guard received minimal offensive support — no teammate scored in double-figures — and the Terriers closed their first-ever tournament win with a 17-2 run.
Wofford (30-4), which extended its nation-best win streak to 21 games, will face No. 2-seed Kentucky (28-6) in Saturday’s second round, while Seton Hall (20-14) will spend the second weekend of the tournament at home for the 19th straight year.
Enlarge ImageWofford’s Fletcher Magee drives on Myles Cale during Seton Hall’s loss.
Wofford’s Fletcher Magee drives on Myles Cale during Seton Hall’s loss.Getty Images
“These guys have left it on the floor all year long,” coach Kevin Willard said. “I love the way they battled. I couldn’t be more proud of the season we had. … It’s always tough to lose, but that was a good basketball team that played really well.”
Powell’s second-half surge was remarkable, but also necessary because of the hole he helped create. Through the game’s first 15 minutes, Powell was held without a point and constantly bombarded by a barrage of double-teams. An early 12-7 lead was erased by a 22-4 Wofford run, keyed by 18 first-half points off turnovers.
At halftime Powell was 0-for-5 from deep, and the Terriers held a 40-30 lead. When the Trenton native returned, so did the alpha dog who could single-handledly swing the mood of the night.