No. 13 Seton Hall cut a 13-point first half deficit to one early in the second half, but a crippling 18-2 run from Marquette and 31 points from Andrew Rowsey powered the Golden Eagles to a 84-64 win.
Marquette came out of the gates with more energy while Rowsey (31p, 3a) scored his team’s first 11 and the Golden Eagles used two separate runs of 11-0 and 13-2 to build a 30-17 lead with five minutes to play in the half.
But an all-important flurry of seven straight field goals from Seton Hall to close out the half allowed them to cling to a 40-32 deficit.
After being edged by their hosts on the boards in the first period, the Pirates looked like they were sticking to the script of responding well in second halves by opening with a 9-2 run that featured Angel Delgado (12p, 10r) and brought them within a point.
But it wasn’t to be against a Marquette team that looked more eager from the start.
The Golden Eagles took over via a back-breaking 18-2 run amidst a five-minute Pirates scoring drought that saw them trailing 60-43 with 12 to play after the dust settled.
A quietly-efficient 14 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes from Ish Sanogo including a pair of threes helped keep his team within a respectful distance before Marquette opened the flood gates late in the game.
For most of the game, Marquette beat Seton Hall at their game. The Golden Eagles held a 17-4 advantage in fast break points, and were +8 on the boards at one point last in the first half and shut the Hall out in second chance points for over 20 minutes. Steve Wojociechowski’s team looked up for the challenge and well-drilled on how to compete with the Pirates, perhaps most importantly, they looked strong defensively. The final vitals: -14 points off TOs ; -5 rebounds; -12 2nd chance pts; -19 fast break
While we’ve seen the Hall out-last opponents in the second half, this one had a different feel. Typically, they go back and forth with opponents before breaking them down in the second, but it always felt like they were playing catch-up with Marquette tonight. Between a different demeanor on the court to uncharacteristic mistakes from guys like Delgado, this one didn’t feel like other second half surges we’d seen; the Golden Eagles’ impressive 78-percent rate from the free throw line also doesn’t make come backs any easier.
Seton Hall couldn’t hang with Marquette’s offensive approach for the full 40. Markus Howard (12p, 3a) only scored four points until late in the game, which goes to show you just how good Andrew Rowsey is and the potential of this young Golden Eagle team; Marquette didn’t rely on its typical approach of raining threes and turned it over just six times. A two-day turnaround should be no excuse for starting second-best as Marquette just played at Villanova on Saturday while the Pirates were in Indiana.
Quotes courtesy of WMCA 570AM
Willard on the loss: “We didn’t have the same pop we’ve been playing with for the last couple games … we didn’t have the same quickness and the same pop. Even though we didn’t play very good, we still gave ourselves opportunities … Got it back it [to one point], then we turned it over two times against their pressure.”
On what went wrong: “They got a lot out of transition … I thought we defended well for the first part of possessions well .. but then we let guys get free runs and big offensive rebounds. We talked about that, those are killers. But they’re a good basketball team. When Rowsey gets going and Howard gets going, you’re in for a tough night.”
On playing with a target on back: “Yeah, we’ve had that all year though. We’ve been pretty up there all year. No one is pitching a shutout in this league, it’s just not happening. I would have liked to have played better at 42-41 we gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game, but then they made a nice run. We battled back so well at Butler and we did so many good things expending energy at Butler, we just didn’t have enough in the tank to make another run after that first run.”
Bonus quote on the loss putting onus on defending home court: “Yeah it does, but that’s this league. If you have two road games and you can split, especially at Butler and Marquette, that’s a tough road swing. Two tough hard-nosed teams. I thought the crowd was really into it tonight. Hopefully we can get back some time and give these guys a well-deserved day off and then get back at it.”