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The Quick & The Dirty: Marquette 88, Seton Hall 85

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Marquette remembered how to offense

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Seton Hall Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

*breathes the biggest sigh of relief every breathed*

Well, Marquette’s not dead yet. They escape with an 88-85 victory at Seton Hall, tarnished by a pointless Pirates buzzer-beater to cut the final margin to 3. Markus Howard led all scorers with 32, which at this point elicits, at best, a nod of approval and a quiet “cool.” Every starter was in double-figures and every bench player was in 0 figures. Not sure if that’s a term, but they (Harry Froling, Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott) all took one shot each and missed. Not a great showing from them. Theo John didn’t play because of flu-like symptoms which were apparently affecting most of the team in one way or another, but Marquette’s best chance at playing solid defense might’ve been letting John cough on Seton Hall and hoping the symptoms hit by halftime.

The first half was pretty back-and-forth. Seton Hall didn’t take its first lead in the game until the 12-minute mark, but after that, both teams traded blows until half, where Marquette held a 42-41 lead. The Golden Eagles started pretty fast, taking advantage of transition opportunities, but the halfcourt offense was slower, often going late into the shot clock or forcing up a bad shot. But they made those bad shots for the most part. Marquette’s offense was excellent in the first half, particularly Markus Howard (it’s Road Markus, so that explains that). Andrew Rowsey was fine, making a few bad passes and losing the ball once or twice, but he hit a couple threes late that we can only hope knocked him out of his slump. He hit 1 of 2 from range in the second half, but finished 4-15 from the floor and 4-4 from the line for 15 points *sighs*. Sacar Anim was another bright spot, putting up 11 on 4-5 shooting in the first 20 minutes, most of which were either in transition or penetrating and getting to the rack. He finished with 15. He also hit a 3 and is now 4-20 on the season. Very chill. On the other end, Marquette was particularly not great on the boards, giving up a lot of offensive rebounds and 2nd-chance points. That’s what Seton Hall does, though, and it wasn’t a great effort for the Pirates, just a regular one. Matt Heldt did a pretty good job on Angel Delgado, but also spent a lot of time on the bench with 3 fouls.

I’m not gonna lie, I was simultaneously watching St. John’s upset #1 Villanova (I mean how the hell did that happen), so my attention wasn’t as sharp. I think the bottom line was that Marquette still made their shots, mostly Howard. More importantly, they made their free throws and Seton Hall did not. Hall was only 20-33 from the line while Marquette was 20-23. EFFICIENCY. Sam Hauser had a couple of great halves, chipping in 16 points on 5-11 shooting (4-6 from 3) and 10 rebounds. On the defensive end, Matt Heldt didn’t commit a single foul after having 3 in the first half. That’s the most efficient player in the country right there. One huge tide-turner was the rebounding numbers. Like I said, Seton Hall was really successful on the offensive glass in the first half, but in the second frame, Marquette out-offensive-rebounded the Pirates 7-1. They only forced 4 turnovers throughout the entire game, so not giving SHU extra possessions was huge.

At one point in the first half, they went inside the Marquette huddle and I heard Wojo hoarsely scream “we need to play like our backs are against the wall!” I wouldn’t say “like,” necessarily, I’d say they are definitely, without a doubt, against the wall. Their backs are so against the wall that they are the wall. They are behind the wall. They are in the next room. And they’ll have to stay there down the stretch. Every game from here on out is, ostensibly, a must-win. At Creighton is now a maybe after Wednesday night’s victory, but in order to be totally safe, it would be nice.

Speaking of St. John’s, that’s Marquette’s next opponent. The team that has beaten Duke and Villanova in the past five days plays host to the Golden Eagles this Saturday at 11 a.m., sooooo I have no idea how this’ll go. See you then.