The Seton Hall Pirates got back in the win column in the most dramatic of ways, as Sandro Mamukelashvili’s last-second tally downed Butler.
The Seton Hall Pirates men’s basketball season was threatening to capsize after consecutive losses by a combined eight points. But on Wednesday, the Pirates plundered a big win from a fellow ranked opponent.
Sandro Mamukelashvili scored with less than a second remaining in regulation, breaking a tie with the Butler Bulldogs at Prudential Center. His heroics gave No. 16 Pirates a 74-72 win, one crucial to maintain their lead atop the Big East.
SANDRO AT THE BUZZER FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/CwHsTGsRKv
— Seton Hall Barstool (@SetonHallStool) February 20, 2020
Neither team was able to top Butler’s six-point halftime lead in the second half. The Pirates (19-7, 11-3 Big East) were able to fight their way back despite an off night from Myles Powell. He shot only 5-of-15 from the field, but officially made things interesting by giving Seton Hall their first lead of the half with a jumper just before the midway mark. The Pirates would balloon their lead to four after a Myles Cale triple before the teams exchanged the lead over the final minutes.
As time trickled, 21st-ranked Butler (19-8, 7-7 Big East) tied the game at 72 on a Sean McDermott three with 12 seconds to go. Afterward, Quincy McKnight, Seton Hall’s lead scorer on the evening (18 points), went for the win on a jumper to no avail. Shavar Reynolds battled Butler’s Jordan Tucker for the rebound, but the ball went out of bounds with 0.6 seconds remaining. Officials ruled the Pirates would have one more possession, but the Newark crowd braced themselves for overtime.
Mamukelashvili was more than happy to send them home early.
Catching an inbound pass from McKnight, the Georgian-born interior prescience instantly put the ball up as time expired. It sank through the net, ending the Pirates’ losing streak and shattering The Rock through the ensuing volume from the fans. The win allowed the Pirates to not only maintain a one-game conference lead over idle Creighton, but also secure their second regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs over the last three years.
Mamukelashvili ended the game with 15 points and six rebounds. Kamar Baldwin would pace Butler in scoring (20).
Seton Hall returns to action on Sunday afternoon, completing their set with the St. John’s Red Storm in Newark (2:00 p.m. ET, CBS). The Pirates are looking to sweet after topping the Red Storm by an 82-79 final at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 18.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags