Marquette snaps road slump with easy win at Seton Hall

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- If Marquette is going to make another deep run in March, its play on the road has to match its stellar performance at home.
With four of their last six games away from the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the No. 17 Golden Eagles took a major step in that direction Tuesday, knocking off Seton Hall 67-46 at the Prudential Center before 6,224.
Marquette (19-6, 10-3 Big East) is 14-0 at home, but just 3-5 on the road after beating the Pirates (13-14, 2-12).
The win gives coach Buzz Williams' team sole possession of first place in the Big East. Syracuse and Georgetown are tied for second at 9-3. Marquette's remaining road games are against Villanova, Rutgers and St. John's.
Junior guard Vander Blue topped Marquette with 19 points, and junior forward Davante Gardner chipped in with 18 points off the bench.
"We're playing for something we've never played for," said senior guard Junior Cadougan of Marquette's quest for a Big East Conference title. "The guys know what it takes. We have to win on the road and control our energy.
"It doesn't matter if we're playing teams in the top half or bottom half of the league we still have to come out with a lot of energy."
Prior to Tuesday, Marquette's two conference road wins were against Pittsburgh and South Florida.
"I don't study other leagues, because I don't have the time, but I think it's incredibly hard no matter who you're playing, and no matter where you're playing to win on the road," said Williams. "The only chance that you have after Valentine's Day is to overwhelm them with your intensity."
And that's exactly what the Golden Eagles did to start the second half.
Seton Hall led 33-32 on a Tom Maayan basket with 17:50 to play, then were victimized by a 25-1 blitz from Marquette that made it 57-34 with 8:48 to play. Gardner led the run with nine points, and Trent Lockett contributed five points.
The Pirates went nearly 10 minutes before scoring a basket.
The loss was the eighth straight for Seton Hall, which is 0-7 against ranked teams this season. The Pirates received 14 points from Fuquan Edwin and 11 from Aaron Cosby.
"Marquette did a great job in getting after us and beating us up a little bit," said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. "We've done a better job of coming out of the gate.
"I'm not really frustrated with the players. I'm just frustrated overall. We need to recruit guys that have a little bit more fight in them."
Willard's squad has been decimated by injuries to key players. The Pirates have played their Big East opponents on some nights with just seven or eight healthy bodies.
Only once have they played with a full, healthy roster -- a 78-65 win over Norfolk State in the second game of the season.
"I think Kevin Willard is a good coach," Williams remarked. "I think no matter who was coaching this team, if they dealt with the level of injuries and the consistency of those injuries, every coach would have the same issues that he's having."
Overall, Seton Hall shot 29.4 percent from the floor, its lowest mark of the season. Edwin and Cosby were a combined 30.8 percent (8-for-26). Marquette shot a blistering 61.5 percent (16-for-26) in the decisive second half.
The 46 points were tied for the lowest the Pirates scored this campaign and the 15 field goals made were the second fewest on the year.
The score was 27-27 at halftime even though Marquette held a 29-13 edge in rebounds. The Golden Eagles are one of the better rebounding teams in the conference despite not having a player ranked in the top 20 in that category.
Blue led Marquette with 11 first-half points, and Trent Lockett and Jamil Wilson grabbed five rebounds apiece before the break. Edwin paced Seton Hall with 10 first-half points, and Cosby contributed nine points prior to halftime, all via 3-pointers.
Marquette snapped a 17-17 tie by going on a 10-3 run to move ahead 27-20 with 49 seconds left before intermission. The Pirates closed the half on a 7-0 run to draw even.
"I thought defensively we were really good in the first half and held them to 26 percent from the field," Williams said. "In the second half I thought that our defensive rebounding and defensive field goal percentage was really good."
NOTES: Marquette's bench entered the night averaging 30.3 points and 17 rebounds per game, and it wound up with 30 pounds and 20 boards Tuesday. The reserves account for 43 percent of the team's scoring, the fourth-highest percentage in the country. ... Marquette was picked to finish seventh in the Big East Conference in the preseason coaches poll. ... Seton Hall is off to its worst conference start since going 2-13 in 1985-86.

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