Howard Leads Marquette Past Seton Hall

(Markus Howard talking to Bill Raftery after the game – @MarquetteMBB)

Marquette, led by 32 points from Markus Howard, outlasted Seton Hall, 88-85, on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.

Howard, a sophomore guard who averages 21.6 points per game, put up 32 points on a superb line of 9-13 from the field, 4-6 on threes, and 10-10 from the free throw line. He also notched seven rebounds, well above his season average of 3.3, and three assists.

Howard is putting together a huge season, as he has been named Big East Player of the Week twice, December 11 and January 8, and was a Preseason All-Big East Second Team honoree. He tied a Big East record with 52 points at Providence on January 3, ironically tying former Providence star Marshon Brooks’ record, when he put up 52 on February 23, 2011 vs. Notre Dame.

Sam Hauser had a big night, as he put up 16 points (5-11 FG, 4-6 three-pointers) and 10 rebounds for a double-double. He also had an assist.

Three other Marquette players scored in double figures, as Andrew Rowsey and Sacar Anim had 15 points apiece, and Matt Heldt scored 10. Rowsey also had seven assists and four rebounds, while Heldt had eight rebounds.

Seton Hall, who dropped to 6-5 in the Big East, 17-7 overall, was led by Desi Rodriguez, who had 21 points on 6-14 from the field, 2-6 on threes, four assists, three rebounds, and a steal. Myles Powell has 18 points (6-12 FG, 4-9 threes), four rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Khadeen Carrington had 15 points, while Ismael Sanogo and Angel Delgado had 11 each.

Seton Hall committed just four turnovers to 12 for Marquette, but that advantage was negated by the fact that Seton Hall shot just 20-33 from the free throw line, while Marquette drained 20 of 23 from the line.

Marquette, who improved to 14-10 overall and 5-7 in the Big East, set the tone from the start, as a Sam Hauser three-pointer followed by a layup from Matt Heldt gave them a 5-0 lead in the opening minute.

Seton Hall responded with a 6-2 run capped by a Rodriguez layup after a steal near the hoop that got the crowd going. Carrington gave the Hall their first lead, 20-19, at the 12:16 mark of the first half.

A Rodriguez three tied it up at 29 with just over six minutes left in the opening frame, and Marquette responded with an 11-2 run, which featured Rowsey draining a couple threes and Howard getting a three and a pair of free throws.

Seton Hall came right back with an 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back threes from Powell and Carrington with 1:53 left, and they went into the half trailing 42-41.

In the second half, Marquette dominated early, taking a 58-49 lead on a Howard three at the 14:38 mark, and were up 10, at 66-56, on a tip-in by Heldt after he rebounded a Rowsey miss, with 9:34 left.

Marquette maintained a six-point edge until around two minutes left, when a Powell three made it 78-74, and he drained another one with 16 seconds left to make it a one-possession game, at 82-79.

A spirited Seton Hall prevented Hauser from getting the inbounds pass in along the baseline, and he was forced to call a timeout. When he tried again, he got it to Howard, who drained a pair of free throws to make it 84-79.

Rodriguez then was fouled on a three-point attempt, and drained all three free throws to cut it to two, 84-82, with nine seconds remaining. Heldt was fouled immediately on the inbounds, and he drained his two free throws to make it 86-82 with eight seconds on the clock.

Rodriguez then missed a three with six seconds left, and Howard drained a couple free throws with a second left, and Powell drained a three as time expired to make the final 88-85 Marquette.

Seton Hall never led in the second half.

Marquette remains in the New York area, as they take on St. John’s Saturday at noon at Carnesecca Arena, while Seton Hall hits the road for a battle with Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Saturday at 4 p.m.

Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard Quotebook from Jaden Daly of Daly Dose of Hoops (

On Seton Hall’s performance Wednesday night:
“I thought early in the game, we gave up too many straight-line drives, or kind of easy buckets. I thought we really just kind of got them in a rhythm, and then the run late in the second half — we missed a couple of free throws and a couple of layups and (Markus) Howard hit two big threes — I really thought that was kind of like really hard momentum killers.”

On Jordan Walker’s performance:
“Yeah, I thought Jordan did a good job. I went with Jordan instead of Eron just because Jordan’s a little bit quicker trying to guard (Andrew) Rowsey and Howard a little bit, getting after them a little bit. I thought he did a really good job.”

On difficulty in defending Howard, Rowsey, and Sam Hauser:
“Well, I think the biggest thing is you can’t let all three of them get going, and when Hauser goes 4-for-6, Howard and Rowsey go 7-for-12, you just — you’re going to have a really hard time beating them. You can be okay with the two little guys scoring as long as you’re doing a job on Hauser, and we lost Hauser three or four times. We gave him easy shots, and that’s really the biggest difference with them is you can’t let Hauser be a huge difference-maker. He’s turned himself into a heck of a player.”

On losing Marquette defensively:
“I thought we had a good prep day yesterday. We had a pretty good practice yesterday, but again, I thought we got scrambling because we got beat off dribble penetration a lot. When we get beat off dribble penetration, guys are going to step up and help — you have to rotate down — and they did a good job of finding guys.”

On Seton Hall’s free throw shooting:
“The tough thing is we’ve been shooting them somewhat decently for us. But we missed some big ones tonight, one-and-ones really hurt us. We had — it’s something we work on and we’re practicing — but it becomes a little bit of a mental thing when we miss a couple.”

On Angel Delgado in the second half:
“They’ve been doing a really good job of bringing two guys on him. And again, when you’re taking the ball out of the net constantly because we couldn’t get stops, it really gives them a chance to set up their defense. Hauser was really smart at times on his doubles, so they did an overall good job on him.”

On Ismael Sanogo’s three-point shot:
“It’s a nice dimension, but he’s just got to learn when to take them. He took two early in the first half off one pass, and he’s got to learn a little bit — because he does work hard on it and we do have confidence in it — but he’s got to learn a little bit when to take it and be a little bit better just being a little bit more patient at times; because when he’s patient, he makes it, but when he kind of rushes it, that’s where he struggles a little bit.”

On Seton Hall’s mindset approaching the stretch run of the regular season:
“We understand where we are. That’s a tough loss, but we’ve got to go on the road now and fight like we did last year, something we did a good job of last year, scrapping and fighting our way back, and now we have to go on the road and do the same thing.”

On playing small in the second half, and whether that will be a common look:
“No, that was just something that, because their pick-and-rolls were hurting us so much, we wanted to try and get some energy and try and be a little bit more aggressive with Rowsey and Howard coming off the pick-and-rolls, and just try to be a little bit more aggressive than we are. That’s not something we’ll do going forward, though.”

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