Powell scores 24, surging Seton Hall beats Xavier 83-71
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI (AP) With its best player back from a concussion, Seton Hall is on its best surge of the season, all the way to the top of the Big East.
Myles Powell scored 24 points Wednesday night, and Seton Hall remained undefeated in the league play by beating Xavier 83-71, ending the Musketeers' streak of 13 straight home wins.
The Pirates (11-4, 3-0) won their fifth in a row and joined Providence atop the league at 3-0. Two of the Pirates' wins have come on the road.
Powell helped the Pirates pull ahead by 14 points in the first half and hold on. In his third game back from a concussion, Powell went 10 of 21 from the field and added a team-high nine rebounds.
"It may sound crazy but that concussion could have been the best thing that happened to us," Powell said. "Everybody put their big boy pants on and picked us up."
The Musketeers (12-4, 1-2) simply couldn't contain him.
"I think all the buckets he scored were tough buckets," said Xavier's Tyrique Jones. "I think we did a good job defending him. We didn't give him anything easy."
Xavier couldn't get anything consistently on offense with Seton Hall's big front line misdirecting shots. Leading scorer Naji Marshall was limited to a pair of free throws in the first half as Seton Hall took control, and he finished 3 of 10 from the field.
Jones led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds. Paul Scruggs added 17 points.
In his last three games, Powell has scored 66 points while leading the Pirates on their surge. They're 3-0 in league play for the fourth time in their history. For the first time in 20 years, they've won their first two league games on the road.
"Road wins in this league are huge," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "As even as we all are, they are hard to come by."
Powell hit a 3-pointer, a fadeway jumper and a pair of layups during a 21-5 run that put the Pirates in control 30-17. The Musketeers missed seven consecutive shots and had five turnovers during the spurt.
"We got exposed tonight against Seton Hall," Xavier coach Travis Steele said. "We had nine turnovers in the first half. We've got to get that cleaned up ASAP. I told our guys the margin for error in this league is very, very, very thin and we've got to take care of every possession."
The Pirates led 40-32 at halftime, the most points Xavier has allowed in an opening half this season. Seton Hall's pair of 7-foot-2 centers took away Xavier's drives to the basket - Ike Obiagu blocked three shots and Romaro Gill finished with five blocks.
Marshall made a 3 for his first basket, cutting the lead to 51-45, but Powell scored off a pair of drives to the basket as Seton Hall stretched the lead to 16 points midway through the second half.
Powell played nearly 36 minutes, his most time on the court in this three games back.
"I think Myles is about 80% right now," Willard said. "As he gets back in shape and gets over the concussion, you're going to see a guy that will elevate his game even more."
Xavier made a late surge. Marshall made three free throws, and Quinten Goodin had a dunk off a turnover that cut the lead to 75-71 with 1:55 left. Gill had a dunk, a steal, a pair of free throws and a block as Seton Hall closed it out.
Seton Hall: The Pirates were on the cusp of the Top 25 to start the week and embellished their credentials with a second straight win on Xavier's court. They also won at the Cintas Center last season, 80-70.
Xavier: The Musketeers fell to 1-1 in a streak of three straight Big East home games, which provided a chance to get an early edge in the league race.
PIRATES KEEP ROLLING
Seton Hall came in leading the Big East in scoring at 76 points per game and field goal percentage at 46.2. The Pirates' 83 points were the most allowed by Xavier this season, and they shot 53.4% from the field, hitting 15 of 25 in the second half.
Marshall finished with 15 points, putting him over 1,000 for his career. The junior forward has 1,003 points.
Seton Hall hosts Marquette on Saturday.
Xavier hosts Creighton on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top 25
Updated January 8, 2020