I’m gonna start with the punctuation mark of this game, because it was awesome, and by the time we get to the part of the recap where it came into the game, the thing was largely decided and I’m going to sail past it.
CHECK OUT WHAT CHASE ROSS DID TO POOR KC NDEFO.
You know what’s really wild about this highlight? It actually doesn’t get the full context of Ross’ dunk. It cuts off Ross making like Ronnie Lott and leaping to snag a long Seton Hall outlet pass after Marquette had just committed a turnover. When Ross grabbed the pass out of the air, the decrease in noise from the Prudential Center crowd was audible on the television broadcast. “OHHHH WE’RE GONNA GET A COOL DUNK OFF THIS PASSssss oh no we’re not, we’re down 14 crap.” Ross tosses it to Tyler Kolek because “well, let’s run some offense” and Kolek throws it right back because not a single Seton Hall defender did a damn thing to pick Ross up as he crossed halfcourt. Nothing but wide open spaces down the lane and poor, poor KC Ndefo patrolling the paint.
As you can see, Ross’ dunk — one of four buckets on the night for him — put Marquette up 16 with a bit over five minutes to play en route to the 74-53 final against Seton Hall. How did they get there? Well, mostly speaking, Seton Hall turned the ball over a lot. First seven minutes of the game were played to a standstill, 11-all, and then the 13 first half turnovers by the Pirates started to stack up. Marquette went up five, then six, then seven, 24-17, with 7:33 to play. Seton Hall was coming off that big come from behind win against Connecticut, so they buckled down and got things going themselves. A layup from Al-Amir Dawes started off a 7-0 Pirates run in less than 90 seconds, and suddenly the thing was tied again, 24-all, with just under six minutes left.
Marquette reasserted themselves over the final few minutes, and a three from Kam Jones — one of five in the game for him — was followed by a layup from Ross as the final bucket of the half, and the Golden Eagles went into intermission up eight, 37-29. That’s one heck of a way to close out the frame after letting the lead slip away from you. As head coach Shaka Smart says, how you respond to what’s happening is what’s important.
How did the second half start? By Jones going to the rack for an and-1 to put the Golden Eagles up 11, their first double digit lead of the game. An and-1 from Oso Ighodaro, who ran wild in the second half as the Pirates had no idea how to corral him much less stop him, was followed up by a three-ball from Jones, and HELLO, Marquette was up 17 with 15:15 to go.
The closest that the Pirates would get for the entire rest of the game was 14 points. Marquette induced another 13 turnovers in the second half, including the one that led to Ross’ dunk, and that allowed the Golden Eagles to lead comfortably for the rest of the contest. Was there a little bit of shakiness along the way? Yeah, sure, a little, Marquette committed 17 turnovers themselves in the game, which was not good, and they realllllly needed things to get to the under 8 stoppage in the second half based on how things were going..... but it was 62-45 when the timeout went, and neither team had scored in about 2:30 of game time. MU wasn’t looking good, but they were locking up the Pirates at the same time.
Kam Jones led all scorers with 22 points, getting there on 8-for-14 shooting including 5-for-9 from long range, and Oso Ighodaro added 18 points, plus six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and three steals. Tyler Kolek had an off day for him in the passing department, getting just six assists to go with seven points, a rebound, and two steals, so not everything was perfect.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and CBS Sports Network?
Up Next: Marquette gets some well earned time off at the midway point of the Big East calendar. With the Golden Eagles sitting at 8-2 after 10 games in the league, they won’t play again until next Saturday when they have another road game. It will be the yearly trip to DePaul, and FS1 will have the broadcast starting at 1pm Central time. The Blue Demons lost on the road to Providence on Saturday and will head out to D.C. for a visit with Georgetown on Tuesday night before returning to Chicago to host the Golden Eagles.