Well, that was certainly a basketball contest, now wasn’t it?
Backed by a fearless 26 point performance from Darryl Morsell, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles snagged a 73-72 victory over #20 Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon. MU is now 12-6 on the year and 4-3 in Big East play, while the Pirates drop to 11-5 overall and an even 3-3 in the league.
Okay, well, where do we want to start with this one?
The best place is probably Marquette taking an 11 point lead, 44-33 on a pair of Morsell freebies after he got smacked by two Pirates in transition with 1:49 left in the first half. That’s the inflection point for the rest of the game, as Seton Hall scored eight points in less than a minute between then and halftime to make it a 44-41 game at the break. That turned into a 13-2 run when you tack on the first three minutes and change of the second half as Bryce Aiken knotted the whole thing at 46 each with 17:23 to go.
The first half was WILD with both teams shooting an effective field goal percentage over 66%, including Marquette going 9-for-14 from downtown. But Seton Hall fended off a turnover problem (10 in the first half, nearly 30% of their possessions) by grabbing up tons of second chances off their rare misses and turning them into six extra points.
So now we’re into the second half, and both teams forgot how to shoot the ball. The second half shooting percentages? 32% for Marquette, 27% for Seton Hall. eFG%? 35% and 30%. Nowhere as good as the first half, but I suppose that’s how you get the drama that we saw.
Marquette went up by four, and then Seton Hall wiped that away to go up five on some free throws by Ike Obiagu. It hovered in that neighborhood for a while, and then Justin Lewis froze Obiagu on a hesitation dribble for a dunk, and Morsell canned a three, one of four in the game for him, and it was all even, 59-all, 7:44 to play.
Back and forth, back and forth, a three from Bryce Aiken put Seton Hall up four, 5:13 left. Morsell leaked out the back of the defense while Aiken missed a three and got an easy runout dunk from Tyler Kolek, tied at 65, 4:10 to go. Morsell got to the rim for a layup, and Seton Hall was forced to call timeout with 3:06 left because Jared Rhoden, their leading scorer, had gone to the bench with four fouls and they needed him back in the game in a bad way.
Aiken scored, Marquette coughed it up, Aiken split some freebies, Lewis went crashing to the deck, and Alexis Yetna scored 5-on-4 to put the Pirates up three. Marquette’s answer to that? A Greg Elliott three-pointer, his only make on two tries in this game, and after a Rhoden elbow J rattled out, Marquette went to the huddle to draw up some magic with under a minute to go.
Said magic? Kolek going towards the rim to get shot blocker extraordinaire Obiagu — he swatted seven shots — moving, but then turning to flip back to a charging Lewis (!) back off the bench for the two. Aiken drew a foul on the other end and converted two from the charity stripe, meaning Marquette had 22 seconds left to break a 72-72 tie.
They inbounded, took a look at the defense (appeared to be a 2-3 zone) and ran their action. It got fumbly and confused, and after Aiken probably maybe actually committed a foul before Elliott went up, Elliott activated a Mini-The Thing to get sent to the line for two free throws as his foot was on the line when he leapt for the shot.
It gets wilder.
Elliott split the free throws, maybe on purpose, since there was less than two seconds left on the clock. Seton Hall rebounded, called time out in the air. Fine, cool. 1.7 left, not many options for them.
And then the inbounder ran the end line with the ball. After a missed free throw and a timeout. James Breeding blew his whistle and made the “run the end line” gesture, in what was probably saying a travel because he ran the end line. I’m guessing this BECAUSE I WAS SAYING IT ON MY COUCH. However, the refs elected to give Seton Hall a do-over. This is, presumably, either because referee Matt Potter told the inbounder he could run the end line (fireable offense, imo) or because he didn’t say anything at all about whether he could run the end line (also a fireable offense, imo).
ANYWAY none of this mattered because the 25 foot inbound pass to Tyrese Samuel from underneath MU’s basket skipped through Samuel’s hands and into Justin Lewis’, horn, game over, Ring Out Ahoya, etc.
Four game winning streaks are fun.
Morsell’s 26 points led the way, and he got there about as easily as you can: 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-5 from the arc and 6-for-6 from the line. He was lethal all game long, and added five rebounds, three assists, and a block. Justin Lewis had 18 as the only other Golden Eagle in double-digits. Kur Kuath had six rebounds to lead the team there as well as two blocks to continue his ascent on the MU single season charts, and Tyler Kolek beat his season average by handing out seven assists.
How about some highlights, courtesy of Fox Sports and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: It’s a big one! On Wednesday night, Marquette will be out easy for a road date against Villanova. The #14 ranked Wildcats are currently 12-4 on the year and 5-1 in Big East play, but they will host Butler on Sunday in between now and then.