Round of 16
No. 3 Seton Hall Pirates vs. No. 2 San Diego State Aztecs
Welcome to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, host of the West Regional Finals. Advancing to the play in LeBron’s house in addition to SHU were the other top four West seeds Gonzaga (1), San Diego State (2), and Oregon (4). Tonight Seton Hall faces college basketball’s surprise team, San Diego State.
Aztec’s head coach Brian Dutcher has been incredibly successful at SDSU winning at least 20 games in each of his three seasons. This year however was special. San Diego State finished with a 30-2 record, including 17-1, to win the Mountain West Conference. Washington State transfer guard Malachi Flynn not only the Aztec’s star player but was also voted as a Second-Team All-American by The Sporting News. He was one of four SDSU players to average double-figures this year. The others are Matt Mitchell (12.2), Yanni Wetzell (11.6), and Jordan Schakel (10.0). San Diego State might be the best team Seton Hall has played in 2020.
It was a very competitive first half, both teams had modest leads but neither could pull away. A late three-pointer by SD State’s Mitchell sent the teams to the locker room at half time tied 46 – 46. It appears that the Aztecs must have watched the film of SHU-IU because they are on Powell like chewed gum to a shoe. Seton Hall’s go-to scorer has only made two shots from the floor for five points (and a couple of foul shots).
As diligently as SDSU is covering Powell, the Pirates are doing the same to Flynn. He has only connected on a single three-point shot himself so far. The second half went much like the first, neither team had more than a six-point advantage. Additionally, no individual player was able to take charge. In the end, Powell and McKnight were able to sink clutch foul shots to seal a victory.
Powell finished with 16 points and Gill had his first double-digit outing of the tournament with 10 points in addition to a team-high six rebounds
Final Score: SHU 76, SDSU 67. Next stop, the Regional Finals