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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PREVIEW: Golden Eagles return to Big East action after Christmas break

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
First-year Chase Ross fights his way through the paint in Marquette men’s basketball’s 80-77 overtime loss to Wisconsin Dec. 3.

Marquette men’s basketball looks to regroup in its first game back from the Christmas holiday break against the Seton Hall Pirates after a 103-98 double-overtime loss to Providence Dec. 20.

The then-No. 24 ranked Golden Eagles had their second Big East win of the season in reach as they had an eight-point lead with 4:16 to go but experienced nearly a six-minute scoreless drought in the winding minutes of the second half allowing the Friars to go on a 10-1 run to take a 78-76 lead with 1:03 to go. Sophomore forward David Joplin tied the game at 78-78 with a layup to force overtime.

Marquette fell behind early in the first overtime before junior guard Tyler Kolek went on a personal 9-0 run over the final 1 minute and 38 seconds. Kolek buried a fadeaway jumper from mid-range to tie the game at 89 with 5.8 seconds remaining in the first overtime period to force another overtime.

But foul trouble and struggles rebounding down the stretch in double overtime, resulted in the Golden Eagles falling to the Friars. Kolek finished with a career-high 29 points and five steals.

With its loss to Providence, Marquette dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll this week as the Golden Eagles received just 12 votes.

Seton Hall enters Tuesday’s game with a 7-6, 0-2 BIG EAST record as it is coming off a 74-70 loss to Xavier Dec. 20. In what was a back-and-forth contest, Pirates had a chance to tie the game in its winding seconds with a pair of free-throws. However, junior guard Kadary Richmond made one of two from the charity stripe to make it 71-70 Xavier. The Musketeers would then connect on both shots from the stripe to seal the win.

Despite its loss, Seton Hall held Xavier to its lowest 3-point shooting percentage this season (25%) and its second-lowest point total of the season (73).

The Pirates enter the season with Shaheen Holloway in his first season at the helm of the program after former head coach Kevin Willard took the head coaching job at the University of Maryland College Park after last season.

This will be the 35th all-time meeting between both sides with the Golden Eagles currently leading the series 21-13. Marquette swept the regular season series last season with a 73-72 win in Milwaukee and a 73-63 victory in Newark. In the win at the Prudential Center, Kur Kuath tied a Marquette Big East single-game record with nine blocks while Justin Lewis put up 33 points, nine rebounds and six assists on the board.

A Look at the Pirates

Seton Hall is one of four teams that sit 0-2 in Big East play at this point of the season. The other three teams are Butler, DePaul and Georgetown.

Holloway’s team has won three of their last five games off its defense as the Pirates have allowed just 58.2 points per game over that stretch. Through 13 games this season, Seton Hall has held six opponents to 55 points or less, the most since 2014-15.

Seton Hall ranks 20th in the country in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency. As for the Big East, the Pirates 62.4 ppg allowed ranks second in the conference.

The Pirates have gotten to the free throw line this season at an elite rate, ranking 10th in the country and first in the Big East with 25.8 trips to the charity stripe per game.

Graduate student forward KC Ndefo and Richmond have each gotten to the line 50 or more times this season.

Key Players:

  • Richmond is a two-way player for the Pirates, averaging 9.7 points and 3.5 assists while leading Seton Hall in steals with 24. The 6-foot-6 guard is coming off a game scoring 17 points, dishing out five assists, grabbing four rebounds and two steals against Xavier.
  • Despite being the Pirates leading scorer at 10.9 points per contest, senior guard Al-Amir Dawes has struggled in his last six games. The Newark, New Jersey native has only shot over 35% from the field twice, including a 3-for-13 performance against Xavier.
  • Junior guard Tyler Kolek has been more than just a playmaker this season for the Golden Eagles. Despite his 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting and three assists against Providence, Kolek turned over the ball six times.  If Marquette wants to limit their own turnovers, Kolek will have to control the ball more.
  • Sophomore guard Stevie Mitchell has been a defensive anchor for Marquette this season. The Reading, Pennsylvania native is averaging 1.2 steals per game while garnering a defensive rating of 97.5.

Keys to the game:

  • Marquette:
    • Force Turnovers. The Golden Eagles are 8-3 when they win the turnover battle this season. Seton Hall sits at a -0.3 turnover margin on the season, which ranks ninth in the Big East and 223 in the country.
  • Seton Hall:
    • Earn trips to the foul line. The Pirates need to get to the paint and drive for contact to win this one. Seton Hall’s record when getting to the line less than 20 times this season is 2-2, with the only two wins coming against Drexel and Rutgers. Conversely, the Pirates are 5-4 when getting 20 or more free throws.

How to follow:

  • Watch: FS1
  • Twitter Updates: @JacksonGrossMU

This article was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.

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