PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Myles Powell and Seton Hall came roaring out of halftime with a torrid outside shooting display that left Oregon wobbled and facing a massive hole.
“Our guys were staggered, no doubt,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said.
And yet, in a matchup of highly ranked teams to end the Battle 4 Atlantis’ first day, the Ducks hung around long enough to slow Powell’s one-man show, climb back in it and ultimately steal a wild win.
Shakur Juiston scored on a putback with 14.4 seconds left and No. 11 Oregon rallied from 19 points down in the second half to beat No. 13 Seton Hall 71-69 in Wednesday night’s opening round.
Quite a change for a team that Altman described as “confused” and “walking around in a daze” after watching a 34-30 halftime deficit balloon to 49-30 in a span of 3 1/2 minutes.
“To their credit, they did a tremendous job of fighting back,” Altman said. “Once we got it under 10, I thought we had a shot.”
Powell, a preseason Associated Press All-American, came in averaging better than 22 points per game. He was nothing short of brilliant for much of the night, finishing with 32 points for the No. 2 scoring total in the nine-year history of the event.
Oregon tied the game at 69 on two free throws from Payton Pritchard with 1:09 left, then got the ball back with a chance for the lead. Pritchard airballed a 3-pointer — only to have the ball end up with Juiston underneath for the putback and Oregon’s first lead since the game’s opening minutes.
“I guess I was at the right place at the right time,” Juiston said. “I had seen Payton shoot it. I never doubted his shot, but I wanted to go box out and it just happened to fall short. My hand was just pretty much right there. I didn’t think about dribbling, I just thought about going up and trying to finish the play.”
Seton Hall (4-2) had a final chance after C.J. Walker missed free throws with 5.3 seconds left, but Powell’s long running heave hit only the backboard to end it.
As several Oregon players spilled onto the court to celebrate, Powell soon crumpled on the sideline near midcourt after the horn sounded. Several Oregon players came over to speak to him before he was helped to his feet and back to the locker room to cap the wild finish on the tournament’s first day.
Powell was receiving treatment after the game and was unavailable to reporters.
“He just caught a cramp,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He always plays everything out there with all his heart. They’re playing some 3-2 (defense) that went to man, they played some 2-3 on him. But he’s OK, he’ll be all right.”
Oregon: The Ducks will have to shore up their perimeter defense. Oregon had held opponents to 21% shooting from behind the arc coming in, but Seton Hall made 14 of 27 — with Powell hitting 7 of 15.
Seton Hall: The Pirates will have a short time to forget blowing the big lead in the three-games-in-three-days tournament, while Powell played a heavy load at more than 35 minutes. Beyond his big night, no other Seton Hall player scored more than 10 points.
Powell drove Seton Hall’s attack, burying shots ranging from contested to stepbacks to just plain long.
“There was a stretch there where he tore us up pretty good,” Altman said.
Seton Hall seized control by making 7 of 8 3-pointers out of halftime, the last coming when Powell buried one then skipped downcourt pointing at the inside elbow of his shooting arm.
Yet Oregon soon used some fullcourt pressure to take Seton Hall out of rhythm.
“We fouled so much, so the fouling gave them a chance to really set it up,” Willard said.
Meanwhile, Pritchard took the lead on a defensive effort that finally forced Powell to miss his last seven shots over the final 7 minutes.
Pritchard scored 16 points to lead Oregon, which shot 52% after halftime. ... Juiston finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. ... Oregon finished with 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points. ... The Pirates shot just nine free throws compared to 28 for the Ducks.
Oregon: The Ducks advanced to the winners’ bracket for Thursday’s matchup with No. 8 Gonzaga, which beat Southern Miss earlier Wednesday.
Seton Hall: The Pirates moved to the losers’ bracket for Thursday’s matchup with Southern Miss, which lost to No. 8 Gonzaga earlier Wednesday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap