NEWARK, N.J. — Marquette is back in the chase for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Markus Howard scored 32 points and Marquette breathed a little life into its postseason hopes by snapping a four-game losing streak with an 88-85 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night.
“It was very detrimental to our team, the four losses,” Howard said. “We were coming into a very hostile place against a really good team and we knew the importance. We’re hoping to get back on track on how we do things. We’re really fortunate to get the win.”
Sam Hauser added 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Golden Eagles (14-10, 5-7 Big East) made a dozen 3-pointers in beating the Pirates for the second time this season. Sacar Anim and Andrew Rowsey added 15 apiece.
Marquette won’t catch a break, having to face St. John’s on Saturday. It has beaten then-No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Villanova in the past week.
“We were reeling a little bit coming into this game,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I thought our team showed great resolve. We knew they were going to make runs throughout the course of the game and our team may have bent, but we didn’t break and we were able to make a few more plays than they did.”
Desi Rodriguez had 21 points to lead Seton Hall (17-7, 6-5), which has lost four of its last six. Myles Powell had 18 points, Khadeen Carrington added 15 points and Angel Delgado had 11 for the Pirates, who lost the game at the free-throw line, making 20 of 33.
“I’m mad. This is definitely not us,” Rodriguez said. “This doesn’t describe our team. We play with a lot of energy and we bring it every game, no matter who we play. And today we didn’t do it. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts a lot.”
Marquette, one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the country, was 20 of 23, making all 17 in the second half, including eight down the stretch.
“We definitely needed this one after the four-game slump,” said center Matt Heldt, who added 10 points, eight rebounds and two clutch free throws with :08 to play after Seton Hall pulled to within 84-82. “Now we have to get our confidence back by getting this win and hoping it jolts us into the next game.”
The Golden Eagles never trailed in the second half, using an early 16-8 run to turn a one-point halftime lead into a 58-49 lead.
Marquette made it a 10-point game with 9:34 to go on a tip-in by Heldt.
Seton Hall, which had won 13 of its last 16 conference games at home, kept challenging but never got over the hump.
Howard made four free throws and Heldt two in the final 13 seconds to ice the game for Marquette, which shot 48 percent from the field and 63 from long range (12 of 19).
Howard finished 9 of 13 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. It was his sixth 30-plus point game, topped by a 52-point effort against Providence.
Despite shooting better than 59 percent from the field in the first half, Marquette only led 42-41. Seton Hall remained close by forcing eight turnovers and grabbing eight offensive rebounds, which led to an extra nine shots.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles’ four-game losing streak came against Xavier, Villanova, Butler and Providence. This was a clutch win and a win over a hot St. John’s will be another step for the league’s youngest team.
Seton Hall: The Pirates are an NCAA team but they are not going to go far unless they start picking up their defense, making free throws and playing with a little more effort than what they showed Wednesday.
Marquette: at St. John’s on Saturday
Seton Hall: at Georgetown on Saturday.