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Marquette rolls past No. 13 Seton Hall

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No. 13 Seton Hall entered Tuesday’s game at Marquette as the lone undefeated in Big East conference play. The Golden Eagles made sure to change that, rolling past the Pirates by the final score of 84-64. Andrew Rowsey led the way offensively for the Golden Eagles with 31 points. But for a team known best for the shooting abilities of players such as Rowsey and Markus Howard, Marquette was able to hurt the Pirates in other areas while also making 11 three-pointers.

Ismael Sanogo led Seton Hall in scoring with 14 points, but the Pirates’ big guns struggled to make shots and defensively there were issues as well. Here are four takeaways from Marquette’s whipping of Seton Hall.

1. Marquette more than held its own on the backboards

Overall the Golden Eagles entered Tuesday ranked seventh in the Big East in defensive rebounding percentage, and in conference games Steve Wojciechowski’s team was rebounding 69.7 percent of its opponents missed shots. Going up against a Seton Hall team that was rebounding more than 37 percent of its misses on the season, Marquette had to hold its own on the glass if they were to have any chance of winning.

Marquette did more than that, posting a defensive rebounding percentage of 76.5 while also rebounding more than 32 percent of its own misses. Sam Hauser and Matt Heldt led the way with eight and seven rebounds respectively, but the Golden Eagles got the job done collectively as all nine players who saw action grabbed at least two boards. Rebounding issues cost the Golden Eagles in their close loss to Xavier in the Big East opener, but that was not the case Tuesday night. The key now is to consistently complete defensive possessions with a rebound. If Marquette can do that, they’ll be in business.

2. Balancing scoring and distributing remains an issue for Khadeen Carrington

Off nights happen to players all the time, regardless of how talented they may be. But when it comes to Seton Hall senior point guard Khadeen Carrington, the Pirates do not have much room for error when it comes to his production. Carrington finished Tuesday’s game with seven assists and just two turnovers, performing well with regards to distributing the basketball.

However, he was 1-for-7 from the field and scored just four points. With Andrew Rowsey going off for 31, Seton Hall needed more from a player who last failed to score in double figures in the Pirates’ win over Vanderbilt on November 24. Seton Hall has enough talent to win more than its share moving forward, but if this team is to play deep into March Carrington will have to avoid outings like the one he had Tuesday night.

3. Marquette had some “unsung heroes” step forward as well

Rowsey or Howard leading the way offensively will never come as a surprise, with Rowsey surpassing the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season with his 31-point effort. But there were others who stepped up their production, including the aforementioned Hauser and Heldt, and freshman guard Greg Elliott. In addition to grabbing a team-high eight rebounds Hauser scored 14 points, the seventh time in the last nine games that he’s scored in double figures as he’s developed into a dependable (and consistent) front court option for the Golden Eagles.

Heldt and Elliott added nine points apiece, with the 6-foot-3 Elliott also grabbing five rebounds and playing some solid defense on the perimeter. Theo John gave Marquette some good minutes in the front court as well, accounting for six points and two rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. For the supplementary options, Tuesday’s win — and their contributions to the success — could give them additional confidence moving forward as Marquette looks to factor into the Big East race.

4. Seton Hall fell into the bad habit of settling offensively, which proved costly:

In Seton Hall’s first three Big East games the Pirates attempted a total of 83 free throws, which works out to an average of nearly 28 per contest. Against Marquette the Pirates attempted a total of ten, with five players attempting two apiece. Among those players was Angel Delgado, who attempted 12 free throws in Seton Hall’s win at Butler over the weekend. Seton Hall didn’t produce enough touches around the basket, far too often settling for jump shots that essentially bailed out the Marquette defense.

Seton Hall was able to cut an eight-point halftime deficit down to one early in the second half, but they were unable to get any closer. Marquette certainly deserves a lot of credit for this, but the Pirates played a role in this as well. Seton Hall isn’t a good free throw shooting team, making just 66.6 percent of their attempts on the season, but they’re capable of making up for this by producing a high number of opportunities to score points from the charity stripe. Kevin Willard’s team didn’t do that against Marquette, and that contributed to their largest margin of defeat this season.

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?