Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski looks on during Big East quarterfinal matchup against Seton Hall. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
New York City - It was a display of torrid shooting. In the opening game of the Big East Tournament, Marquette rolled to a 78-56 victory over Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden. The pace was on the pedestrian side, with Marquette at 62 possessions and Seton Hall checking in at 60.
Efficiency: Marquette 126, Seton Hall 93
The key factor: Easy. The deadly shooting of Marquette. The Golden Eagles hit 13 of 22 beyond the arc for a sizzling 59% rate. The eFG mark was an off the charts 70%. Both teams had acceptable turnover rates, with Seton Hall at 17% and Marquette 18%.
The loss was Seton Hall’s third straight. Overall, they have dropped nine of their last ten. Only a narrow home win over Creighton temporarily stopped the streak.
Marquette did shoot the lights out. On the other hand, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard admitted his team did not come out strong, and when Marquette hit a succession of tough shots, the Pirates' psyche was, in Willard’s words, "fragile."
The Pirates hit two late threes to get within ten just before the half ended. At the buzzer, Steve Taylor Jr. hit a momentum-regaining three to push the lead to 13 at the break.
Scoring Leaders and OE:
Marquette: Matt Carlino, 26 points, OE .550
Seton Hall: Isaiah Whitehead, 12 points, OE .667
Whitehead's five assists to Carlino's two made a slight OE difference. In terms of NBA efficiency, Carlino was more efficient, posting a 23 efficiency to Whitehead's 18.
Interesting stat: Whitehead tied Marquette center Luke Fischer with a game-high four blocked shots.
Marquette placed four in double figures scoring, while Whitehead was the lone Pirate to crack double figures.
“I think our team is getting better. We haven’t been healthy the better part of the second half of the Big East season. The last two weeks, we have had everybody and we are improving. Tonight was as well as we can play.” - Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski
“The first few shots they (Marquette) hit took the wind out of us. We never bounced back, but I am proud of our effort. Give Marquette credit, but it is a tough way to end the year.” – Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard
Marquette is 13-18, playing for their collective lives with Villanova, a team Wojciechowski said “has no real weaknesses,” next up in the quarterfinals. Seton Hall is 16-15, with the NIT now a longshot.