The 12th-ranked Pirates withstood the injury to Powell and beat Stony Brook 74-57 in a game that marked the return of coach Kevin Willard.
Powell, the Big East Preseason Player of the Year and an Associated Press preseason All-America selection, sprained his left ankle five minutes into the game and didn't return. Afterward, Willard said Powell was undergoing X-rays on a "serious" ankle sprain that "might be a prolonged absence."
"I thought we did OK at first, and then when the news trickled down the bench that he wasn't coming back, I just think everyone kind of understood if as tough as he is if he's not coming back, he had to be hurt and I think that kind of shook us a little bit," Willard said. "And in the second half, I think everyone kind of understood what they needed to do and did what they needed to do."
"It affected us a lot," McKnight said of Powell's injury. "All-American, Big East Preseason Player of the Year, guy who scores 25-plus points for us, yeah, it's hard when he goes down that early and it's only the second game of the season. Nobody thought that would happen, so that happened and it kind of took the energy out of our team. It just took us out of our whole rhythm."
Seton Hall (2-0) announced Oct. 29 that the NCAA is investigating the program and Willard would be sitting out two games. The school said it was cooperating but didn't specify what the NCAA was investigating.
Willard sat out one exhibition game as well as a season-opening 105-71 victory over Wagner.
"Actually, watching on TV was much easier than this," Willard quipped. "It was hard. The hardest thing was not being able to communicate with the guys you know -- they shut you down and you have no communication, you're not allowed to do anything ... I still did practices, but for 24 hours I was dark, and it's hard because you want to text your guys, your players, your staff, and that was the hardest part."