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The Quick & The Dirty: #21 Marquette 70, Seton Hall 66

The Golden Eagles withstood a second half charge from the Pirates to win their third straight league game.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Marquette
Theo John did the good things today.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Backed by 26 points from Markus Howard and a series of “right guy, right place, right time” plays down the stretch, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles came away from Fiserv Forum with a 70-66 victory against Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon. Marquette is now 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in Big East play. Marquette is the only team in the Big East with only one loss, and only 3-0 Villanova stands in front of them in the league standings.

After bouncing back from a 5-0 SHU opening, Marquette spent the first half building up a 13 point lead before a triple right before the horn by Myles Powell sent both teams into the locker room with MU up 40-30. That lead was halved inside of three minutes and completely gone at the 14:07 mark when (surprise) Powell hit a three-pointer to level the game at 44.

It looked like Marquette was ready to answer the charge from the Pirates as Howard cashed two free throws and Sacar Anim converted an and-1 to put MU back up five. The next eight points belonged to Seton Hall, though, and a layup from Taurean Thompson tilted it 52-49 favoring the visitors.

Part of the problem along the way here was turnovers. Marquette committed nine in the first half alone, and then another 11 joined the party in the second half. The other end of the deal was MU’s shooting. The Golden Eagles shot just 32% in the second half, missing all nine three-point attempts that they put into the air.

While Seton Hall had taken the advantage on the scoreboard, they couldn’t build on it. They weren’t giving it up, either. Theo John split a pair of freebies to put Marquette up two, but Myles Cale came down on the other end to even it out at 60 with 4:15 to go. Sam Hauser hit a pair of free throws coming out of the under-4 minute media timeout to make him Marquette’s 50th 1,000 point scorer, and after turnovers by Powell and Howard, Powell dropped in a triple (sensing a theme yet?) to put Seton Hall up 63-62 with just over three minutes left.

John collected a blocked Howard shot but got fouled in the process, and even though he’s only shooting 50% from the line this season, he calmly knocked down both to give MU a one point lead with 2:12 left to go. A turnover by Cale led to a blocked three-point attempt by Howard, but Powell missed a triple of his own, and after John hauled it in and Marquette came across halfcourt, Steve Wojciechowski called timeout with 48 seconds to play. Wojo’s playcalling in the huddle came through yet again in this game as he got Sacar Anim into the middle and got Joey Hauser coming downhill through the lane for perhaps the most powerful layup you’ll ever see. Shut up, it makes sense.

Marquette up 3, 48 seconds left. All it takes at that point is not screwing it up. Seton Hall scored, Joey Hauser split a pair of freebies. Seton Hall missed, John split a pair of freebies. Markus Howard fouled Quincy McKnight up three, and after he split the throws, Sam Hauser hauled in the miss, popped home his two throws to put MU up 4 and let the Golden Eagles just stand around while Seton Hall inbounded to end the game.

It wasn’t particularly pretty, but it was kind of gritty, especially down the stretch. Regardless of how you get there, it counts as a win, and that’s what matters.

Howard led all scorers with 26, although it wasn’t a particularly efficient way to get there at 7-for-20 on the afternoon. Sacar Anim had a very important 14 points to outscore everyone on Seton Hall not named Powell, but Player of the Game honors might just go to Theo John. He had 10 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, three blocks, and a steal. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from him.

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Up Next: Marquette will return to action when they visit Georgetown on Tuesday night. The Hoyas (12-5, 2-2) are coming off a double overtime home victory against Providence where they needed a buzzer beater three-pointer from Mac McClung to force overtime and a triple from James Akinjo with three seconds left to force a second extra session.