Greg Elliott got the call shooting a jump shot on Bryce Aiken with 1.8 seconds left. Seton Hall fans cannot be too upset considering Aiken had actually fouled him a second earlier and had gotten the exact same call go his way minutes earlier (and another go his way in the first half). Elliott hit 1 of 2 free throws and Marquette stole the poorly thrown inbounds pass to escape with the victory. This ended a six game win streak for Seton Hall over Marquette.
The first half featured incredibly hot shooting while both teams went on big runs. Back to back Kam Jones 3s led Marquette on a 13-2 run and gave them an early 19-10 lead. The Golden Eagles held a solid lead until Seton Hall, on the back of Aiken, finished the half on a 8-0 run to close the halftime deficit to 3 at 44-41. Aiken’s hot shooting, 6-6 from the field and 4-4 from 3, was matched by Darryl Morsell, Justin Lewis, and Jones who combined to shoot 8-10 from 3 (both misses from Lewis) in the first half.
The host shooting did not carry over to the start of the second half. Seton Hall started 1-5 from the field as Marquette started 1-9. Seton Hall took the lead on a Jared Rhoden jumper with 13:54 left in the half. The Pirates appeared to be in a safe spot when Aiken knocked doan a 3 to put Seton Hall up four with five minutes to go. After a Kolek layup, Morsell took over for 3 straight possessions. He finished a fast break dunk, got a block on the other end, followed by a driving layup. THe two point Marquette lead would not last as Aiken continued to pour buckets on the Golden Eagles. Aiken would hit two free throws with 31 seconds left to tie the game before fouling Elliott to end the game.
After a heart-breaking loss to Creighton in 2OT, Marquette has won four straight games and looks like one of the better teams in the Big East. Marquette had been crushing teams with the Kolek pick and roll of late, but did not rely on it heavily today. In the first half, they didn’t need it. Morsell, Lewis, and Jones were so hot they were cooking on their own. Morsell, who finished with 26 points, got plenty of ball handling time in the second half as well, but after falling behind by four with less five minutes to go, Marquette went back to their bread and butter. Shaka called a TO and out of the TO Kolek ran a pick and roll with Kur Kuath. Kolek knifed through the defense for an easy layup, a much needed bucket for Marquette and a play he had not been able to finish all game. Marquette’s offense has flourished of late despite not relying on one consistent scorer. Over their four game win streak, they have had a different leading scorer each game (Lewis, Prosper, Elliott, and Morsell). Each leading scorer scored at least 22 points. Marquette’s numerous scoring options and willingness to share the ball (second in Big East in assists PG, 19 assists today) will help guide them towards the top of the conference.
Seton Hall follows up their road loss at DePaul with a road loss at Marquette. They’ve suffered these losses despite Aiken, 28 points, establishing himself as one of the premier scorers in more than just the conference, but the nation as well. Having entered the starting line-up seven games ago, Aiken is averaging 19.9 points PG. This would be good for third in the conference and nineteenth in the nation. Today, Aiken was able to go for 5-8 from 8, but Seton Hall didn’t get much more 3 point shooting. The Pirates not named Aiken combined to shoot 1-13 from 3 (Jared Rhoden and Myles Cale were a combined 0-7). Seton Hall was able to exploit one of Marquette’s weaknesses as they dominated them on the glass. Ike Obiagu and Alexis Yetna finished with 13 (7 offensive) and 16 (6 offensive) rebounds apiece. Seton Hall will feel like they let one slip away, especially because they came into the game second in the conference in FT% (78.1%) and missed 7 FTs in today’s game. In spite of dropping back to back games, Seton Hall still looks like one of the conference’s stronger teams. They are one of the more senior teams and have two of the conference’s best players in Aiken and Rhoden. Expect this team to have some strong wins soon.
Marquette @ #14 Villanova on Wednesday 1/19
Seton Hall @ St. John’s on Saturday 1/22