NEWARK, N.J. — I guess that sprain wasn’t too bad after all.
Just five days removed from suffering an ankle injury that left Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard wondering when his star guard would actually return, Myles Powell put on one of the most impressive scoring performances of the young season.
Although it ultimately came in a losing effort, the NBC Sports Preseason First Team All-American popped off for 37 points in a 76-73 defeat.
“Myles is one of the great players I’ve ever seen in college basketball,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
“He’s the best player in the country,” Willard added. “It’s not even close.”
There were questions heading into this game about whether or not Willard had been practicing a little gamesmanship with the health of his senior superstar. After Powell exited just four minutes into a 74-57 win over Stony Brook on Saturday, Willard told reporters that this injury was likely a “prolonged absence.” But on Wednesday, despite not practicing with his teammates, it became clear that Powell had a chance to play on Thursday night.
Powell participated in but walked through Seton Hall’s shootaround on Thursday. He sat on the bench as the team went through a workout roughly an hour before tip-off. When the team went back into the locker room for one final film session about 45 minutes before tip-off, Powell told Willard he would play.
“I knew he’d play, I didn’t think he would be able to do what he did,” Willard said of the 12-for-27 shooting performance. Powell was 6-for-14 from three.
“I don’t know if God could’ve stopped him on some of those shots,” Izzo said.