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.