NEW YORK (AP) — Myles Powell sparked Seton Hall with 18 second-half points and Big East player of the year Markus Howard of Marquette came up short on a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pirates a chippy and foul-filled 81-79 victory in the Big East Tournament semifinals Friday night.
The third-seeded Pirates (20-12) will face top-seed and defending champion Villanova in the final Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in a rematch of the 2016 title game won by Seton Hall.
The expected showdown between Howard and Powell, the top two scorers in the conference, never fully materialized. Howard scored 21 points, but finished 1 for 15 from the field. He also went to the locker room with 2:24 left in the first half, favoring his left wrist. He started the second half, but the 90 percent free-throw shooter was 18 for 24 from the line for Marquette (24-9).
Powell, who scored 29 points in the first half of quarterfinals against Georgetown, managed just four in the first 20 minutes as Marquette took a 36-33 lead into halftime.
Powell went on a personal 8-0 run in the second, with a pair of 3s and a pull-up jumper that gave Seton Hall its first lead of the game, 46-44, with 14:55 left.
Soon after, he picked up his third foul. That drew complaints from Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, who was given a technical. Marquette hit four free throws to regain the lead.
Moments later, Powell was fouled going to the rim and officials had to separate the teams with 12:18 left. No punches were thrown but Marquette’s Sacar Anim and Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili each picked up a second technical and were ejected, as was Marquette’s Theo John for pushing a defenseless player while in the air.
Powell received a technical, too, and it looked as if he had also been ejected when he walked toward the locker room. He returned moments later to the bench, but with four fouls.
The teams combined to shoot 85 free throws.
Howard hit his only field goal with 10:05 left, a straight on 3 that put Marquette up 60-54.
Powell wasn’t done though. He hit consecutive 3s to get the Pirates fans jumping, the second giving Seton Hall a 64-63 lead with 6:35 left. Powell backpedaled down the court, looking over his shoulder toward the Marquette bench.
Seton Hall: Quincy McKnight scored 18 points and played big role in shutting down Howard. Michael Nzei had 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Marquette: The second-seeded Golden Eagles will enter the NCAA tournament having lost five of six.
Seton Hall: The Pirates split with Villanova in the regular season.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles will find out their NCAA Tournament opponent Sunday.
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