MILWAUKEE (AP) — The top scorers got their points, Sandro Mamukelashvili made the difference.
Mamukelashvili had a career-high 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds to back Myles Powell’s 28 points as No. 13 Seton Hall built a big second-half lead and then held off Marquette 88-79 on Saturday.
Seton Hall (21-7, 13-3 Big East) led 44-35 at the half and extended the margin to 24 points midway through the final 20 minutes before Marquette rallied to 84-79 on a 3-pointer by Sacar Anim with 34 seconds left.
Mamukelashvili, a 6-11 junior forward, missed 10 games with a fractured right wrist, before returning on Jan. 29. The 6-11 junior forward made 10 of 13 shots, including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.
“He’s a dynamic player. He spread the floor for us, he does a lot of good things,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard . “He takes a lot of pressure off Myles. Having him back and seeing him round into form has given us a nice added dimension.”
Mamukelashvili has scored in double figures in six of the nine games since his return, with double-figure rebounds twice.
“There wasn’t much he wasn’t able to do,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “He scored at the basket, he scored on offensive rebounds, he drove the ball and he hit threes. He played like an NBA player tonight.”
The Pirates took their biggest lead at 74-50 on a 3-pointer by Powell with 11:02 remaining, before Marquette (18-10, 8-8) climbed back with 10 consecutive points.
Markus Howard, the Big East’s leading scorer and second in the nation at 27.2 points per game, had 37 points for the Golden Eagles, who have lost four of their last five. Anim added 13 points.
The Pirates scored the first seven points after the break, taking a 51-35 lead when Powell was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws. The Pirates extended the run to 15-3, before Howard hit a 3-pointer to make it 59-41.
Howard made 12 of 20 shots, including 6 of 9 from three-point range, and was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He scored Marquette’s first 12 points.
“I really thought we showed a lot of great toughness coming back from a large deficit against a really good Seton Hall team,” said Howard, playing his final home game. “They played unbelievable. Sandro really played an awesome game and, I mean, Myles is Myles.”
Seton Hall, which was 13 of 26 from 3-point range, remained atop the Big East ahead of 10th-ranked Creighton, which is at St. John’s on Sunday.
The Pirates used a 10-0 run to open a 17-8 lead with 13:30 left in the half. Jared Rhoden’s 3-pointer gave Seton Hall its biggest lead of the half at 32-20.
Marquette closed within 36-31 on a layin by Greg Elliott, but Powell and Myles Cale answered with consecutive 3-pointers to boost the lead to 42-31.
“They were terrific and they had answers for everything we did. They were incredible,” Wojciechowski said. “If Mamu plays like that, and you’ve got Mamu and Powell and a bunch of guys who star in their role, the NCAA better watch out. Because if they play like that, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
Seton Hall: After facing No. 12 Villanova at home on Wednesday, the Pirates are at 10th-ranked Creighton on Saturday where the Bluejays are 15-1 at home.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles close their conference schedule with road games at DePaul and St. John’s, the two bottom teams in the Big East. Marquette has beaten both this season.
Seton Hall hosts Villanova on Wednesday.
Marquette is at DePaul on Tuesday.
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