At the final horn, it was a nine point loss, but that’s not really the story of the game. #13 Seton Hall started hitting shots from the opening tip and never stopped on their way to beating Marquette, 88-79, at Fiserv Forum on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles are now 18-10 on the season and 8-8 in Big East action with two games left to go.
I think we can safely say that the game was, to all important purposes here, over in the first half when Seton Hall turned a one point Marquette lead into a nine point Pirates advantage. Turnaround by Romaro Gill, and-1 by Sandro Mamukelashvili, dunk by Ike Obiagu, and a stepback triple by Myles Powell, one of five long range bombs by the SHU star on the day. All of that came in a two minute span, making it a 17-8 game with 13:30 left in the first half. What did Marquette do on the other end? Nothing bad, not really. Just one turnover in there for the Golden Eagles. They just missed shots, but they did it early and against a team that just would not miss.
Marquette would find a way to eventually trim the lead down to six — 10:30 to go — and then from 10 down to five — 3:08 to go — but there was the Pirates holding onto a nine point advantage at the half. The Pirates made seven of their 12 three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes, including 3-of-5 for Powell. He had knocked down just 20% of his attempts in the past few games as we had noted in the preview, but whatever it was about Fiserv Forum, or maybe just the magic of Leap Day, he was back to being the ruthless killer that we were aware that he could be.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Marquette wasn’t playing well, at least not on offense. They were doing enough to keep putting points on the board, especially on the offensive glass to help things out. On the defensive end, though, they had absolutely no answers for what the Pirates were doing. We saw the same thing in the final 30 minutes in Newark earlier this year, so it can’t be a surprise.
Whatever hope existed at the intermission with a single digit margin went away very quickly as the Pirates scored the first seven points of the second half, the first four on dunks. That made it a 16 point ballgame, 51-35, with 17:50 to play, and the lead would hit 20 — technically 21 — on a jumper from Powell at the 15:27 mark.
If you thought something good was going to happen after that, you have more optimism than me.
The lead ballooned to 24 with 11:02 to go, and the game was pretty much over. “But Andy! What about the thrilling comeback at the end??!?”
I’m not giving anyone credit for an 11-0 run that took two and a half minutes and left Marquette trailing by just five with 34 seconds to go. Blah blah blah heart and spirit and fight and so on.
Nah, you can miss me with it. Next time, talk to me about heart and fight and spirit about a team that doesn’t fall behind by 24 points. Thanks.
Up Next: This was the final regular season game at Fiserv Forum, but Marquette still has two more road games to play. The Golden Eagles will get two cracks at teams in the back end of the Big East standings — literally ninth and tenth place right now — with a chance to finish the year above .500 in conference. First up: A trip down I-94 on Tuesday night to visit DePaul. The Blue Demons will visit Butler on Saturday evening before beginning preparations for the Golden Eagles.