The newly ranked Marquette Golden Eagles play host to the Seton Hall Pirates in a Big East showdown at the Bradley Center on Wednesday night.
This will be the third time in the last four games that Seton Hall will be taking on a nationally-ranked opponent. The Pirates lost the other two contests with a 93-74 setback to Notre Dame and 73-58 loss to now No. 1 Louisville. The Pirates' most recent contest ended in a 67-55 loss to Providence, marking three straight setbacks for Seton Hall, which is now 12-5 overall and still in search of its first league win.
A thrilling 74-67 victory over Pittsburgh finally pushed Marquette into the top-25 where the Golden Eagles sit at No. 25 after the release of Monday's rankings. The Golden Eagles have won five straight contests, four of which came at home where they have a perfect 9-0 mark this season. Marquette is 12-3 overall and has yet to lose in three chances against Big East foes.
Last season Seton Hall earned just its second win in 11 tries all-time against Marquette with an 85-72 victory at home.
For the second straight game Seton Hall failed to get over the 60-point plateau against Providence on Saturday. The Pirates held the Friars to just 36.1 percent shooting, but turned the ball over 17 times to just nine miscues by Providence. That led a 20-10 deficit for the Pirates in points off turnovers. Second-chance points were also a factor with Seton Hall being outscored, 23-7.
Seton Hall is right near the middle of the Big East in terms of offensive production, ranking eighth in scoring (71.1 ppg) and sixth in field-goal percentage (.457). On the defensive end the Pirates are letting up 64.5 points per game, while teams shoot at a 40.8 percent clip. However in Big East play Seton Hall is scoring just 65 points per game, while allowing 76.3. A trio of scorers on the offensive end. Both Fuquan Edwin (17.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Eugene Teague (12.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg) are shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Edwin is the real threat, ranking fourth in the conference in scoring. Edwin also utilizes his quick hands on the defensive end, as he ranks second in the conference in steals (2.5 pg). Aaron Cosby (12.4 ppg) is also a solid scorer as well.
Against a tough Pittsburgh team, Marquette led for the majority of the second half but a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Lamar Patterson knotted the game at 57-57 and sent it to overtime. The Golden Eagles opened the extra session on a 10-2 run and hit 13-of-16 free throws in the period to escape with the win.
While the Golden Eagles cannot boast of impressive offensive numbers, the Golden Eagles can take solace in their strong defensive efforts. Marquette is allowing just 61.9 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting to its foes. On the offensive end the Golden Eagles are among the five worst scoring teams in the conference (70. ppg), while shooting a solid 46.7 percent from the field. Vander Blue (13.9 ppg) is the go-to scorer, while Davante Gardner (12.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has provided quite a spark off the bench. Blue scored a season-high 22 points against Pittsburgh to push his season-long streak of games in double figures to five. Gardner has not made a start this season but has scored in double figures in all but two games.