With two of the best scoring guards in college basketball sharing the court, Friday’s Big East semifinal matchup between 3-seed Seton Hall and 2-seed Marquette was expected to be a thriller. And it was, as the Pirates won by the final score of 81-79 as Markus Howard’s three-point attempt fell short as time expired.
Unfortunately the discussions of this game will focus on the fact that three players were ejected, four others fouled out and the two teams combined to commit 57 fouls (nine technicals) and attempt 85 free throws. Seton Hall and Marquette needed two hours and 40 minutes to determine the winner in a game that didn’t even go to overtime.
It didn’t take long for things to get going, as Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Marquette’s Sacar Anim got into it with 13:06 remaining in the first half. Powell, who like Howard was a first team All-Big East pick, was given a flagrant 1 for his elbow to Anim’s chest with the Marquette guard receiving a technical foul.
The three officials never seemed to fully get the game under control, and things boiled over with 12:48 remaining in the second half.
An exchange between the two teams led to three players, Anim, Marquette’s Theo John and Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili, receiving flagrant 2 fouls. And in the confusion Powell, who received a technical foul, ran off to the locker room thinking that he was ejected as well. An assistant coach ultimately brought Powell back onto the court, and he would eventually hit two key three-pointers as Seton Hall rallied and ultimately took the lead for good.
Down the stretch Seton Hall’s Quincy McKnight and Jared Rhoden both received technical fouls, with the former rung up for protesting a foul call by running to the other end of the court and the latter for attempting to grab the ball while hanging onto the rim after he missed a dunk.
And to top it all off, Powell and Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski exchanged words in the handshake line after the two did not shake hands. Both teams were reportedly given the option close their locker rooms to the media after the game, which both accepted. Generally speaking, the locker rooms are open to media during postseason tournaments.
Most tight games provide all involved, from the fans to the players and coaches themselves, with the desire for more despite being given everything in a sporting sense. However with this game, it would be hard to blame anyone who feels unfulfilled.