A double-double from Jamil Wilson with 16 points and career high 11 rebounds in addition to a solid 19-point team-high outing from Todd Mayo led the scoring attack for Marquette. “We know that were good players individually,” said Mayo. “We need to take the next step and win together. Winning at home is big key in conference play. As long as we keep winning at home, other teams lose and we win overall (on the road), we will work our way up the ladder and it will help down the stretch.”
Marquette jumped out to 40-26 halftime lead due in large part to shooting 55% (14-25) from the field. According to Mayo, “We are playing inside-out. I feel like we were knocking down shots today. Once Davante draws the double team and kicks it out it, it helps our guards on the perimeter.” But Seton Hall wouldn’t go down without a fight chipping away and cutting the deficit to just three points with under two minutes to play thanks to an aggressive full court press forcing Marquette’s guards into multiple crucial turnovers. Marquette cooled off in the second half only shooting 37.5% (9-24) and was 0-10 from beyond on the arc in the last 20 minutes.
With 41.8 seconds remaining, Wilson stepped to the free-throw line and knocked down a pair of bonus free-throws to extend the Marquette lead to five points. However, Seton Hall’s Brian Oliver comes back down court and drills a 3-pointer with 23.3 seconds left to make it a two-point game. Todd Mayo would go on to make both bonus free throws to give Marquette a 67-63 lead. Sterling Gibbs hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was not enough as Marquette escapes with a 67-66 victory despite being outscored by 13 points in the second half. Seton Hall capitalized on 22 points off Marquette’s 12 turnovers. Marquette’s largest lead of the game was 16 points very early at the start of the second half.
Marquette’s magic number for free throws this season is 15 makes from the charity stripe. The Golden Eagles are now 8-1 when it makes at least that many vs. 2-6 when under that mark. Marquette was 18-23 from the free throw line vs. Seton Hall including a perfect 9-9 from Todd Mayo. Three Seton Hall players finished in double figures consisting of Brian Oliver (15), Sterling Gibbs (13) and Patrick Auda (10). The Pirates were without Eugene Teague today.
Marquette will now have a full week to prepare to face the Butler Bulldogs on the road on Saturday, January 18th at 1 p.m. CT. Marquette hasn’t won two games in a row since wins over IUPUI (Dec. 14) and Ball State (Dec. 17) and will look to do so in Butler’s first matchup vs. Marquette as a member of the new look Big East Conference. The Golden Eagles haven’t faced Butler in their home arena since the 1990-91 season when both teams were in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
Check the Marquette Hoops’ Message Boards for post game comments from head coach Buzz Williams regarding the team’s toughness/accountability, free throw differential in the game and Jamil Wilson’s recent play at the 4 position.