Markus Howard topped the 40-point mark for the sixth time in his career, hitting nine 3-pointers to finish with a season-high 51 points and spark Marquette to a 101-79 win over USC in an Orlando Invitational semifinal on Friday afternoon at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
After scoring a tournament-record 40 points in a 10-point win over Davidson on Thursday, Howard shot 14 of 24, 9 of 17 on 3-pointers and made 14 of 17 free throws to fall two points short of equaling his career high.
Led by Howard’s fiery showing, Marquette shot 14 of 29 on 3-pointers and amassed 41 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles (5-1) will take on No. 5 Maryland in Saturday’s championship game. The Terrapins defeated Harvard 80-73 in Friday’s other semifinal.
The 5-foot-11 Howard became the first player in the storied Big East history to score 40 points in back-to-back games. Howard, wearing pink shoes, also broke the tournament record for most points overall with one more game left. The senior guard scored 12 straight points in the second half to give the Golden Eagles an 81-58 lead.
The Trojans (6-2) received a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds from forward Isaiah Mobley. USC starting center Nick Rakocevic sat out the final 14:41 due to picking up his second technical foul, finishing with seven points. Onyeka Okongwu added 12 points and four boards for USC.
Howard sparked the Golden Eagles to a 53-23 lead after draining a 3-pointer with 4:37 left in the first half. He scored 26 first-half points and Trojans missed all four of their 3-pointers.
USC was outrebounded 21-13 to trail 57-36 at halftime.
Howard shot 8 of 13, including 6 of 10 on 3-pointers, as the Golden Eagles were 10 of 15 on 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.
—Field Level Media