Myles Powell sparked Seton Hall with 18 second-half points and the Big East player of the year Markus Howard of Marquette came up short on a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pirates a chippy and foul-filled 81-79 victory in the Big East Tournament semifinals Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
After winning a game that featured three ejections and 85 free throws, third-seeded Pirates (20-12) will face top seed and defending champion Villanova in the final Saturday night in a rematch of the 2016 title game, won by Seton Hall.
The expected showdown between Howard and Powell, the top two scorers in the conference, never fully materialized. Howard scored 21 points but finished 1 for 15 from the field. He also went to the locker room with 2 minutes 24 seconds left in the first half, favoring his left wrist. He started the second half, but the 90 percent free-throw shooter was 18 for 24 from the line for Marquette (24-9), which has lost five of six.
Powell, who scored 29 points in the first half of quarterfinals against Georgetown, managed just 4 in the first 20 minutes as Marquette took a 36-33 lead into halftime.
Powell went on a personal 8-0 run in the second, with a pair of 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper that gave Seton Hall its first lead of the game, 46-44, with 14:55 left.
Soon after, he picked up his third foul. That drew complaints from Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard, who was given a technical. Marquette hit four free throws to regain the lead.
Moments later, Powell was fouled going to the rim and the officials had to separate the teams with 12:18 left. No punches were thrown, but Marquette’s Sacar Anim and Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili each picked up a second technical and were ejected, as was Marquette’s Theo John for pushing a defenseless player while in the air.
Powell received a technical, too, and it looked as if he had also been ejected when he walked toward the locker room. He returned moments later to the bench, but with four fouls.
VILLANOVA 71, XAVIER 67 Phil Booth scored 28 points, Jermaine Samuels hit three critical 3-pointers and No. 25 Villanova rallied past Xavier in overtime to reach its fifth consecutive Big East championship game.
The defending N.C.A.A. champions Wildcats (24-9) are trying to become the first team in the 40-year history of the Big East to win three straight tournament titles.
Villanova (24-9) erased a 7-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation. Booth and his fellow senior star Eric Paschall each scored 5 points in the extra period as the Wildcats held off a determined Xavier squad.
Paul Scruggs scored a career-high 28 points and Zach Hankins added 18 on 8-of-10 shooting for the fourth-seeded Musketeers (18-15), who had won seven of eight. Scruggs, a sophomore guard, also had 11 rebounds and 7 assists.