Saturday, February 29, 2020

Green's five takeaways from No. 13 Seton Hall's 88-79 win at Marquette

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On the eve of March, the No. 13 Seton Hall Pirates (21-7, 13-3 Big East) picked the best time to bloom as they put together their most complete performance of the season in an 88-79 win over the Marquette Golden Eagles (18-10, 8-8 Big East). Here are my five takeaways from Fiserv Forum for CSO.

1) One final duel in the regular season:

In the final regular season installment between two of the best players in the country, Myles Powell and Markus Howard put on a shooting clinic.

In defeat, Howard finished with his 13th 30-point gamer of the season (37), while Powell went for a team-high 28 points, on 9-of-22 shooting.

The biggest difference in the final result— Powell had support to lean on in Sandro Mamukelashvili, while Howard was left on an island like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” as the remainder of the Golden Eagles went 17-of-47 from the field. The PAIR complemented each other on the court and shared some candid thoughts.

“We have been in the league for four years and watched each other grow. If there’s anybody in the league that I compare my success to, it is [Markus],” Powell said. “He is a heck of a player and is a great dude on and off the court. I told him at the end, don’t let this ruin your moment, you deserve this and sent him love and prayers as well.”

“It is bittersweet because he is one of those guys who makes things happen for his team and he played excellent today and his team played well today,” Howard said. “Basketball can really bring out some of the best things and worst things in you. I think it gets caught up in what a lot of people talk about. We try to strain away from those conversations and have real conversations. I think that it is unique and something that not many people in those positions get to have.”

2) Stone Cold Sandro:

The 2019-20 season has seen its highs and lows for Sandro Mamukelashvili, but Saturday proved to be the junior’s finest hour.

Mamukelashvili’s skillset was on full display as the junior showed the ability to stretch the floor and give Marquette’s defenders trouble all game with a career-high 26 points, on 10-of-13 from the field. Pirates coach Kevin Willard relished on having the big man back after missing two months this season with a fractured right wrist.

“[Sandro] has been big since he has been back. Losing him when we lost him was a huge adjustment period for us. He is a dynamic player, spreads the floor for us and does a lot of good things. He takes a lot of pressure off Myles, so having him back round into form has given us a nice added dimension,” Willard said.

3) The Hall’s paint presence felt:

With the game still in reach at 44-35 to start the second half, Romaro Gill’s back to back dunks help set the tone for a 12-3 run as the Fiserv Forum crowd went silent. Nearly a third of their points (30) came in the paint as Marquette had a hard time finding an answer to Seton Hall’s cerebral attack.

“I wanted [Romaro] to get a touch because he does so much for us defensively. We ran a little misdirection with him and Quincy [McKnight], who threw a great pass, which gave us a little momentum,” Willard said.

4) Unselfish Seton Hall:

While Powell got most of the spotlight, the Pirates’ unselfish play was on full display as 23 assists came on 32 field goal makes.

The perimeter game also showed its light as they went 13-of-26 (50 percent), which is the best mark in Big East play for the Pirates.

5) Pirates’ fast start:

With emotions running high on Marquette’s senior day, Seton Hall used a 13-2 run in the early stages of the first half to jump out to a 20-10 lead and stayed in control for the remainder of the game.

Despite Howard’s best efforts, Seton Hall’s unselfish play proved to be the difference and will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament in March if it can rival a performance like Saturday.