Saturday, February 7, 2015

Marquette 57, Seton Hall 54: Tempo-Free Recap, Nuggets of Note

Steve Taylor's 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting got Marquette past Seton Hall. (Photo courtesy of Anonymous Eagle)

Playing one man down, as Matt Carlino was ruled out of this afternoon's game due to aftereffects resulting from a concussion against Villanova, Marquette was able to overcome his absence to post a 57-54 victory on the road against a Seton Hall team that needed a win against the shorthanded Golden Eagles. Here's a look at the final numbers:

Possessions: Seton Hall 66, Marquette 64
Offensive Efficiency: Marquette 89, (0.89 points per possession) Seton Hall 82 (0.82 PPP)

Four Factors:
eFG%: Marquette 48, Seton Hall 36
FT Rate: Marquette 48, Seton Hall 34
OREB%: Seton Hall 43, Marquette 19
TO Rate: Marquette 22, Seton Hall 21

What Marquette did well: Attack the paint. Even with Angel Delgado and Brandon Mobley playing 31 and 22 minutes, respectively, the Golden Eagles pounded the ball inside to the tune of a 42-22 edge on interior scoring against the Pirates, whose offense was largely predicated on three-pointers after the vast majority of their shots inside were missed layups.

What Seton Hall did well: Rebound. Granted, most of the Pirates' 17 offensive caroms were putback opportunities from point-blank shots that would not go in, but Seton Hall still ended the afternoon at plus-4 on the boards against Marquette, neutralizing Luke Fischer's 10-point day by only allowing him two rebounds.

Scoring and Efficiency Leaders:
Marquette: Steve Taylor Jr. and Jajuan Johnson (14 points each)
Taylor's OE: .778, Johnson's OE: .467
Seton Hall: Sterling Gibbs (game-high 16 points) and Jaren Sina (12 points)
Gibbs' OE: .400, Sina's OE: .500

Nuggets of Note:
- Marquette's seven-man rotation was primarily a basic man-to-man defense for most of the first half, and it confounded Seton Hall enough to yield only 22 points in the opening stanza, and just a scant 0.67 points per possession over the first 20 minutes, in 33 trips down the Prudential Center floor.

- Only one player on the Seton Hall roster, Jaren Sina, shot better than 50 percent from the field on a day in which the Pirates managed a collective 31 percent clip (18-for-59) from the floor. The talented freshman trio of Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado were a combined 5-for-26, and Sterling Gibbs could do no better than a 4-for-12 effort.

- While Marquette drew a very favorable free throw rate, the Golden Eagles unfortunately could not convert on all of their attempts, keeping Seton Hall in a game the Pirates arguably had no business being within earshot in for the first 38 minutes. In fact, neither Marquette nor Seton Hall fared well at the charity stripe, joining forces to shoot 23-for-42 collectively on foul shots.

- The loss to Marquette, who picked up only their third conference win in 11 attempts, dropped the Pirates to 15-8 overall, and 5-6 in Big East play. In a game that was widely considered a "must-win," and one that friend of the site Jerry Carino will likely have a much more detailed take on in his recap, the Pirates came up empty in quite possibly the flattest performance of the season, and one of the more questionable coaching jobs that Kevin Willard; who has done a remarkable job getting this roster to remain in contention this year, has done in his five years at the helm. 

- After a season sweep at the hands of DePaul, and now this afternoon's setback to Marquette, Seton Hall now has three glaring losses on their resume heading into a four-game stretch that will make or break the Pirates. Beginning with Georgetown coming into Newark on Tuesday, followed by a three-game road swing against Providence, Villanova and St. John's, the last of those three on the Red Storm's campus at Carnesecca Arena, Seton Hall needs to go 3-1 in those games just to get back into consideration for a spot in the field of 68, barring anything unexpected. Even a split of the next four games would still place the Pirates in a position where they would need two wins at Madison Square Garden in the Big East tournament just to maintain their spot on the bubble.

Final Thoughts
"Our post defense is probably our biggest Achilles' heel over the last five games. We're defending the threes, but we're giving up layups, and that's probably the most disheartening thing about it. I have to figure out how to defend the interior."

"We have to get back to being a very good defensive team. It's really been, since DePaul at home, (January 22) where we kind of slipped defensively."

"You've got to score the basketball, and that's something we're just not doing right now."

- Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard

"We were men today. We were men today." - Marquette guard Jajuan Johnson, as told to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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