NEW YORK – In a bizarre, unexplainable game, marred by physical play, flagrant fouls, ejections, poor shooting, mayhem, and poor officiating, junior guard Myles Powell scored 18 of his 22 points after halftime to spark a balanced attack and lead Seton Hall to an 81-79 victory against No. 23 Marquette in a Big East tournament semifinal on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The third-seeded Pirates (17-12) advanced to face No. 25 and top tournament seed Villanova in the tournament championship game on Saturday night, as Marquette’s Markus Howard missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
Michael Nzei notched a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Pirates, Quincy McKnight chipped in 18 points and Sandro Mamukelashvili scored 10 before being ejected during a chippy second half. The game featured a combined eight technical fouls and 85 free throws.
Sam Hauser paced second-seeded Marquette (23-7) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Markus Howard (21 points), Joey Hauser (12) and Sacar Anim (10) also finished in double figures.
Seton Hall grabbed its first lead with 14:56 remaining, as Powell hit a jumper to give the Pirates a 46-44 advantage. Marquette responded with a 7-0 run.
Tempers flared between the teams after Powell took a hard foul midway through the half. Following a skirmish and video review delay of nearly 10 minutes, referees ejected Anim and Theo John of Marquette, as well as Mamukelashvili. Anim and Mamukelashvili both were called for their second technical fouls, while Powell received a flagrant foul after the play.
Howard, the Big East Player of the Year, suffered a left wrist sprain and missed the final 2:24 of the first half. He returned after halftime but went just 1 for 15 from the field while shooting 18 for 24 from the free-throw line.
Powell, who scored 31 points in the Pirates’ quarterfinal victory against Georgetown — including a Big East tournament-record 29 in the first half — missed his first three attempts from the field against Marquette.
Powell tweaked an ankle late in the Georgetown game, but played without a wrap and without hesitation against the Golden Eagles.
Still, his anticipated showdown with Howard hardly materialized. The junior standouts were a combined 1 for 11 from the floor and 2 for 4 from the free-throw line in the first half. Powell registered the only first-half field goal between the two, a 3-pointer at the 10:04 mark.
Marquette led by as many as 12 in the first half but missed several opportunities to grow its advantage before the break. Seton Hall closed the half on a 7-0 run to draw to within 36-33, as McKnight scored five points during the spurt.
The Pirates and Golden Eagles split the regular season series. Seton Hall lost by four points on the road on Jan. 12 before stunning Marquette with a 73-64 home win on March 6, closing the game on an 18-0 run.
–Field Level Media