NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 19: Head coach Kevin Willard of the Seton Hall Pirates reacts during the second half of a college basketball game against the Maryland Terrapins at Prudential Center on December 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Seton Hall defeated Maryland 52-48.
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Seton Hall is gearing up to play Big East opponents after an up-and-down non-conference schedule finishes with a win over Prairie View A&M.

The Seton Hall Pirates are finished with a taxing non-conference after drilling Prarie View A&M in Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, New Jersey. Winning against Prairie View is the expectation and Seton Hall left little doubt in the Sunday matinee.

The Pirates faced a five-point deficit at halftime but managed to find their offensive rhythm in the second half. They put up 53 points in the second half with Quincy McKnight’s 25 leading the way.

Much like the game against the Panthers, Seton Hall’s non-conference slate featured its fair share of ups and downs. Kevin Willard‘s squad lost two heartbreakers early to No. 3 ranked Michigan State and No. 11 ranked Oregon. These were tough losses in the heat of the moment, but both came against teams with legitimate Final Four hopes. It happens.

Double-digit losses to Iowa State and Rutgers are a little different. To make matters worse, the Pirates lost preseason All-American Myles Powell to a concussion against the Scarlett Knights and this wasn’t a false alarm like an earlier ankle injury.

Powell’s injury comes on the heels of Sandro Mamukelashvili fracturing his wrist, an injury that will keep him out for at least two months. Mamukelashvili was Seton Hall’s most reliable scorer outside of Powell.

But somehow, someway, the Pirates managed to pull off an upset over the No. 7 ranked Maryland Terrapins on Thursday. Much like against Prairie View, Quincy McKnight led the way with 17 points and six assists. The senior guard is stepping up while the Pirates tread water without Powell and Mamukelashvili.

After a short break for the holidays, their Big East schedule will begin in Chicago with a tussle against the upstart DePaul Blue Demons on Dec. 30 (8:00 p.m. ET).

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.