Seton Hall sharpshooter Sandro Mamukelashvili shrugged off scoring a career-high 32 points as the Pirates defeated St. John’s in their Big East opener Friday.
“It always feels good when you get easy points at the beginning, and from there you just get in a groove,” Mamukelashvili said. “Whatever came to me, I just took the best shot and made the good decisions.”
Winners of three straight, the Pirates are out for more of the same Thursday as they continue conference play against host Marquette.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard has no doubt Mamukelashvili can deliver as the big man shot 12 of 18 while adding nine rebounds and three assists against St. John’s.
“I’ve been saying it since he came back [for his senior year],” Willard said. “I think he’s the best player in college basketball from what he can do in shooting the basketball, passing the basketball. … I thought he got off to a little bit of a slow start but then he got his motor going and I thought he just played fantastic basketball.”
The Pirates (4-3, 1-0 Big East) will hope to acclimate from a longer than anticipated layoff after Tuesday’s scheduled game against Xavier was postponed due to COVID-19 considerations within the Musketeers’ program.
With no Xavier game preparations necessary, Seton Hall was free to stay up late Monday night to watch Marquette. The Golden Eagles’ 89-84 victory at No. 9 Creighton tipped off at just after 9 p.m. ET.
Numerous Golden Eagles newcomers lifted the team to an impressive feat. The victory was Marquette’s second against a top-10 foe this month after downing then-No. 4 Wisconsin at home on Dec. 4.
Ohio State transfer D.J. Carton led five Golden Eagles in double figures with 20 points and has scored 38 points in his past two games.
“I feel like he’s settled in great,” said teammate Greg Elliott, who had 14 points at Creighton. “I feel like it’s more than just on the court. It takes people awhile to get used to their teammates and what everybody else does, especially coming from another program and being able to play right away.”
Freshmen Dawson Garcia and Justin Lewis combined for 25 points and 19 rebounds. Garcia registered a double-double, while Lewis fell one rebound short.
“For their first Big East game, on the road, against a top-10 team, those two kids were fantastic,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “They handled the moment, which is a big moment, against an outstanding team with the maturity of someone much older than they are. Those two guys are really good players and it showed.”
–Field Level Media