Vander Blue continues recent hot streak, scoring 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting in Marquette's 67-46 win over Seton Hall. (Photo courtesy of Paint Touches)
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard's opening statement:
"They (Marquette) did a great job of getting after us and heating us up a bit, which we don't like."
On the state of his team and why the locker room was closed after the game:
"I have answers, but I have to wait until next year to deal with that. I think the effect of all the injuries demoralized this team to where a 25-1 run happens, we don't have any fight in us. We just have to make a couple of changes going into next year and go from there. They (the players) are not in a very good mood to talk right now, and I don't want them to say anything they shouldn't be saying. Sometimes, when you put a 19-to-20-year-old in front of a microphone, he doesn't know how to handle it, and I didn't think it was the right thing to do. It's wearing down on us more mentally than physically. Physically, we're getting outmatched."
Marquette head coach Buzz Williams on Kevin Willard:
"I think Kevin's a great coach, and I think any coach would have the same issues he's facing. In five years, I don't think I've ever seen that rash of injuries on one team."
On his team's effort tonight:
"When we force our opponent to play against a set defense, at least we give ourselves a chance. I thought we did a great job of getting the ball reversed, I thought we were much more consistent offensively. I thought we had good spirit and good fight in the first half, but we just had poor execution.
On Vander Blue's efficiency and his role in Williams' "wardrobe malfunction:"
"I would be extremely shocked if he was an all-conference player, since we've only had three. (Jerel McNeal, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder) I think his last two games have been his best two games because of his efficiency. Trent (Lockett) has continued to improve, Jamil (Wilson) has been consistent the last two games, and that has helped Vander. He dove for a loose ball, and when I went to pick him up, he pulled down my tie; and when I went to go pull it back up, I noticed he pulled all the buttons off my shirt."
Nuggets of Note:
- Marquette's 25-1 run broke the game open early in the second half, turning a 33-32 Seton Hall lead into a 57-34 Golden Eagles rout. In fact, the former Warriors (also #TBW, or Team Bubble Watch in Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner's columns) outscored the Pirates 40-19 after going to the locker room at halftime tied at 27.
- Marquette shot 62 percent (16-for-26) from the field in the second half, and in addition to Vander Blue's 19 points, Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson contributed 18 and 10 points off the bench, respectively. Together, those three players outscored Seton Hall by themselves. Wilson (10 points, 9 rebounds) and Trent Lockett (9 points, 8 rebounds) both came close to posting double-doubles as the Golden Eagles outrebounded the home team 43-24.
- Two fouls in the final second of the first half allowed Seton Hall to go to the intermission on a 7-0 run. The Pirates picked up five points thanks to Fuquan Edwin and a transition three from Aaron Cosby before Aaron Geramipoor came into the game to infuse offense on a pair of foul shots that tied the score at the end of the opening stanza.
- Seton Hall has now fallen under .500 with this loss, standing at 13-14 and 2-12 in the Big East. The loss is the eighth straight for the Pirates and twelfth of the last thirteen, with a trip to the Yum! Center next on the schedule for a return match with Rick Pitino and Louisville.
- Finally, one can only wonder how much more Kevin Willard can handle. Scores of fans, and even others in the college basketball community are now starting to wonder if the third-year head coach will be able to survive another season in the Big East after Seton Hall has gotten off to its worst conference start since the 1985-86 season, which was just a few months before this writer was born in August 1986. Say what you want about former coach Bobby Gonzalez, but his teams fought, and they improved every year, going from 13 wins in his first season to 17 in each of the next two years before winning 19 games in his fourth and final season before his firing in March of 2010. Willard does not have an experienced point guard and has been befallen by more injuries than any man can care to count, but more than a few of the natives in South Orange are getting just a tad restless as a long season gets even longer down the stretch.