FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — Myles Powell was just knocking down shots after his Seton Hall teammates kept finding ways to deliver the ball to him. He figured he was just doing his job, but it turned out to be a record-setting day.
Powell scored a career-high 40 points to lead Seton Hall to an 82-75 first-round win over Grand Canyon in the Wooden Legacy on Thursday night.
He tied the tournament record for points in regulation set by James Harden — the NBA’s reigning MVP — of Arizona State in 2008.
“He’s the MVP of the league,” Powell said of Harden. “When you say James Harden, that’s who a lot of kids look up to. Just to be put in that category with him is great.”
Powell learned of the distinction with the Houston Rockets’ All-Star while watching Hawaii play Utah in Thursday’s finale of the tournament.
“Wow. First time I’ve heard that. Everything is a blessing,” Powell said. “I’m blessed to be in this situation. I’d like to thank my coaching staff and teammates for believing in me.”
Powell has plenty of work to do in order to have a similar beard, however. But he had a Harden-esque game-winning shot Thursday.
Powell hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 66 seconds left to give the Pirates (2-2) the lead for good at 76-75. Grand Canyon went 0 for 2 from the field with a turnover from there.
Damari Milstead scored 21 points and Alessandro Lever scored 20 points for Grand Canyon (3-2).
Powell, who set the tournament record by scoring 21 first-half points, made back-to-back baskets to give Seton Hall a 10-point lead with nine minutes to play. Lever answered with a 3-pointer and Michael Finke hit two more 3s during a 20-9 run that gave the Antelopes a 73-72 lead, their first since 2-0, with two minutes to go.
Brocke Stepteau scored a career-high 24 points to lead Hawaii to its first win over a Pac-12 school since it beat Cal in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016.
“It’s a big win, but we talked about it before the game that we didn’t want to just come here to compete, we knew we could win,” Stepteau said. “… It will help us along this season because we now that if we play like this we have a good chance to beat anybody.”
Eddie Stansberry scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for the Rainbow Warriors (4-1). He made 12 of 13 free throws. Five players scored in double figures for Hawaii, which will play Seton Hall (2-2) in the semifinals Friday.
Donnie Tillman and Riley Battin each scored 16 points for Utah (2-2).
Utah will play Grand Canyon (3-2).
FRESNO STATE 78, NORTHWESTERN 59
Guard Braxton Huggins led Fresno State in scoring with 17 points. He had an incredible play with a coast-to-coast slam dunk that was the play of the game late in the second half for the Bulldogs (2-1). He took an inbounds pass and got around a double team against a fullcourt press and was off to the basket after that.
“First of all, if that play is not on top-10 on SportsCenter, I don’t know what is,” teammate Sam Bittner said. “That was an unbelievable, athletic play. I haven’t seen that, ever. He’s a great player. He has unbelievable athleticism. He gets up the floor. He can pop. He can dunk on you. He’s hard to handle.”
Fresno State advances to the semifinals to play Miami. First-year Bulldogs coach Jim Hutson, who grew up and coached in Bakersfield, is looking forward to the matchup against Miami coach Jim Larranaga.
“It’s exciting. I was telling our radio that we watch those games on the East Coast, and I’m very familiar with him and his program and what he’s done,” Hutson said. “Working for coach (Steve) Fisher (as an assistant at San Diego State), and (I know) those two guys are friends. Being in this business a long time, it’s exciting to go up against somebody of such great character, first of all, but the resume he has. I wish it was a little later (in the day), and we were a little taller.”
MIAMI 85, LA SALLE 49
Chris Lykes scored 18 points to help Miami (4-0) remain undefeated. Five players scored in double figures for Miami.
“They pressed, and we did a good job of getting by them and making solid passes and getting in the lane and making shots and kicking it out,” Lykes said. “We’re a dynamic team. It’s a little different from the team last year.”
Jared Kimbrough scored 10 points for La Salle (0-5).
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