Turnovers, poor second half shooting doom Marquette in loss to Seton Hall

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Markus Howard (0) dribbles the ball in Marquette's 70-66 win over Seton Hall at Fiserv Forum Jan. 12, 2019. (Marquette Wire stock photo).

NEWARK, N.J. — In front of a packed crowd at the Prudential Center Saturday afternoon, Marquette was unable to exact revenge on Seton Hall, taking a 69-55 loss to the Pirates.

“It was a tale of two halves,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Our offense was very good, and our execution was very good in the first half. Our defense wasn’t where it needed to be. In the second half, our defense was better, but our offense was worse.”

The previous matchup between the two teams was in the 2019 BIG EAST Semifinals, a matchup Wojciechowski described as “the most unusual game of basketball I’ve ever been a part of.”

This year’s matchup was a little less odd, even though it started out just as physical. 

Neither team got out to a hot start, as it was just 3-2 over four minutes into the game. Then, sophomore forward Brendan Bailey shoved the Pirates 7-foot-2 center Romaro Gill and drew a Flagrant One foul.

Following the foul, Marquette started to gain some steam and led by as many as 11, paced by senior guard Markus Howard’s 18 points in the half. Over halfway through the first, the Golden Eagles were shooting 67% from beyond the arc and 50% from the field.

But the Pirates snatched momentum right back and went on an 8-0 run. After a deep 3-pointer from star guard Myles Powell, the score was knotted up at 32-32. 

Seton Hall made five of its last six field goals in the frame and headed into the halftime break leading 40-37.

“We lost the lead because we turned it over and we added a couple of defensive breakdowns where they got layups,” Wojciechowski said. “We didn’t execute what we wanted to execute. They’re a hard team to guard.”

The Pirates picked back up where they left off in the second half, putting themselves up seven. Marquette fought back into it and tied the game at 45-45.

But Seton Hall took the momentum back with a 9-0 run over a 2 1/2 minute period, using stifling defense to hold MU scoreless for almost three minutes.

“Once we started simplifying what we were doing on the defensive end, we kind of locked in a little bit,” Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said. “We were able to chase some guys off the line and made it as hard as you can possibly make it for Markus.”

Marquette struggled to get anything going for the remainder of the second half and ultimately fell to the Pirates, who are still undefeated in BIG EAST play at 4-0.

In the second half, the Golden Eagles shot just 19% from the field and 18% from beyond the arc.

“We had a lot of open, good shots, but they just didn’t fall for us tonight,” Bailey said. “We have to find other ways to make up for those shots that we’re not making.”

Howard led the way with a game-high 27 points. In the matchup, Howard moved into third place in the BIG EAST’s all-time 3-pointers made, passing former Syracuse great Gerry McNamara’s total of 183. 

Anim added nine points, and redshirt junior Koby McEwen totaled eight points and three assists. Bailey contributed a game-high 11 rebounds. John had a forgettable stat line, putting up zero points and fouling out in just 14 minutes of play.

Redshirt sophomore guard Greg Elliott was inactive for the matchup with an ankle injury, and Wojciechowski said he is game-to-game.

For Seton Hall, Powell totaled 23 points and seven rebounds. Freshman forward Tyrese Samuel contributed eight points off the bench. Center Romaro Gill added 10 points and six rebounds of his own.

“The unsung hero for their team is Gill,” Wojciechowski said. “Myles (Powell) gets the attention that he earns and deserves and they have a number of other really good players, but Gill changes their team.”

Marquette (11-5, 1-3 BIG EAST) is not dwelling on the loss, but instead looking forward to a chance for redemption against Xavier Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“We’ve only played four games, and we have a lot ahead of us,” Bailey said. “(The BIG EAST) is the best conference in college basketball. You just always have to be prepared.”

 

This story was written by Dan Avington. He can be reached daniel.avington@marquette.edu or on Twitter at @danavington.