Golden Eagles up intensity, roll past Pirates

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edi
Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edi

For a while, it looked like the trap could’ve been set. At the 17:50 mark of the second half at the Prudential Center, Seton Hall’s Tom Maayan gave the Pirates a 33-32 lead.

It wasn’t where the Golden Eagles had expected to be at that point of the game. Seton Hall came into the contest with just two Big East wins but played Marquette to a tie at halftime.

In a conference where winning on the road is difficult, no matter who the home team is, coach Buzz Williams said his team needed to boost its intensity after the half.

“I don’t study other leagues because I don’t have the time, but I think it’s incredibly hard, no matter who you’re playing, no matter where you’re playing to win on the road,” Williams said. “The only chance that you have after Valentine’s Day is to overwhelm them with your intensity.”

Marquette got the message, unleashing a 17-0 run after Maayan’s basket and outscoring Seton Hall 25-1 overall in a seven-minute stretch. The Golden Eagles would win the half 40-19, running away with a 67-46 victory.

After shooting just 37 percent from the field in the first half, Marquette knocked down 16 of 26 field goal attempts in the second half to shoot 61.5 percent.

During the 17-0 run, Marquette played its game by dominating the frontcourt. Davante Gardner picked up eight of his 18 points during that stretch, while Vander Blue led all scorers with 19 points, driving to the basket with ease. Marquette would finish with 38 points in the paint compared to Seton Hall’s 14.

Turnovers played a big role in both halves, as the Pirates forced the Golden Eagles into 10 before halftime, scoring seven points off them. In the second half, however, Marquette upped its ball control with just three turnovers and scored 17 points off nine Seton Hall turnovers.

The Golden Eagles’ rebounding was consistently good throughout the contest, as they dominated the battle of the boards, 43-24. Forcing turnovers and rebounding the ball were both big factors in the win, Williams said.

“In the second half, I thought we were really good defensively, even though percentage-wise they were better than they were in the first,” Williams said. “I thought in the second half that our defensive rebounding and defensive field goal percentage were really good. We did a great job of getting the ball reversed and attacking the high post. I thought we were more consistent in the second half.”

Jamil Wilson continued to produce at a high level, scoring in double digits for the fifth straight game. Junior Cadougan dished four assists despite being held off the scoreboard. Gardner’s 18 points led a bench effort that outscored Seton Hall, 30-14.

With one road trap avoided, it’s on to the next one as the Golden Eagles head to Philadelphia to take on Villanova Saturday.