Surging Seton Hall looks to keep Marquette reeling




So far, the recovery from a three-game losing streak against the Big East's top teams is going well for Seton Hall.

Now, the Pirates hope too much rest will not deter their bid for a third straight win Sunday afternoon when they host Marquette in Newark, N.J.

Seton Hall (11-8, 8-5 Big East) dropped three straight games from Jan. 19-30 when it sandwiched single-digit defeats against then-No. 3 Villanova around a four-point setback to then-No. 17 Creighton. Since those losses, the Pirates have posted a 60-43 victory at Providence on Feb. 3 and an 80-73 win at UConn three days later.

"I feel like we are an (NCAA) Tournament team and we got a lot of talent on our team," Seton Hall forward Sandro Mamukelashvili said. "These two wins were big wins and hopefully everything will work out for the best. I don't know what the (NCAA) Committee is thinking, but I know we had two really good wins."

Against UConn, the Pirates held an 18-point lead in the first half before holding on, led by Mamukelashvilli's 22 points. He scored a combined 23 points in the final two games of the losing streak but has responded with consecutive 20-point games for the first time this season.

The Pirates are playing with at least six days in between the games for the fourth time. They posted a 17-point win over Xavier on Dec. 30, took Villanova to the final possession on Jan. 19 and then lost to Creighton on Jan. 27 with the latter two games occurring after postponements due to COVID-19.

This time, they are hoping to enjoy as much as success over Marquette (9-11, 5-9) as Villanova experienced Wednesday.

The Golden Eagles have dropped five of six since getting a 73-71 win at St. John's on Jan. 16. The first four defeats were by nine points or less but at Villanova, Marquette began a five-game road trip with a 96-64 loss.

In their most lopsided loss of the season, the Golden Eagles allowed Villanova to shoot 70 percent in the second half and 63 percent overall.

"I thought our guys competed in the first half," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "I didn't think we competed to the level we're capable of, or at least I think we're capable of, in the second half."

Dawson Garcia scored a career-high 28 points on Wednesday and D.J. Carton added 13. But Marquette's other starters -- Theo John, Jamal Cain and Koby McEwen -- combined for 20 points. Marquette's bench produced only a 3-pointer by Jose Perez but may see the return of Justin Lewis, who was out due to an ankle injury.

--Field Level Media

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