Seton Hall Upsets No. 7 Maryland 52-48 Without Their Two Best Players
The Seton Hall Pirates shocked the college basketball world last night with a huge win over Maryland Thursday night. Seton Hall entered the season ranked 12th with high expectations, but had dropped two straight and were coming off an embarrassing loss to Rutgers.
Senior Quincy McKnight stepped up in Myles Powell‘s absence with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. The Pirates played terrific defense forcing Maryland to shoot many contested jumpers. Fellow senior Romaro Gill, was protecting the basket at will, and made Maryland work for every layup attempt. The 7’2” Jamaican center finished with an impressive six blocks. Their other 7’2 center Ike Obiagu, also blocked six shots of his own.
In total the Pirates blocked an astounding 15 shots and the Terrapins shot an abysmal 27% from the field. Maryland also committed 17 turnovers. “Today we proved to everyone we can still play and we got a good win,” said McKnight. “This is a confidence booster to everyone on the court today. The big fellows are down there and if you are going to go down there, you better know what you are going into. We’re willing to let guys go by us to go meet the big fellows down there.”
Sophomore Jared Rhoden also stepped up for the Pirates with eight points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes. “This was a big program win for us. That’s all coach (Kevin Willard) kept reiterating to us at practice all week, that we lost two of our star players and guys had to step up. It was a collective win. We all stepped up,” Rhoden told the media.
At the end of the game it was very close. Leading 49-42 with a minute left, the Pirates almost gave the game away missing three free throws and throwing the ball away when they were trying to break Maryland’s press. This lead to a Anthony Nelson Jr. three pointer that just missed. Seton Hall was then fouled and made their last free throw to close out the game.
At halftime Maryland was down 27-18, good enough for their lowest scoring first half this season. “The world is not coming to an end, but we are highly disappointed as a coaching staff and as a team. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom. I don’t know if it is rock bottom. We’ll see. If it is, hopefully we’ll come back and get better,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.
Maryland has now lost two straight and we will expect to see their ranking fall when next week’s polls come out.
Seton Hall had a night to forget in a 20-point loss to unranked Rutgers last Saturday, but Thursday’s game was a big statement game. What’s even crazier about the win was the absence of the Pirates’ top two players Powell and Sandro Mamukelashvili. Powell, now in his senior year, is the Pirates best player with season averages of 21.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Mamukelashvili, a junior, is a solid power forward and second in scoring behind Powell contributing 10.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
The Pirates face Prairie View this Sunday before conference play begins next week.
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