No. 17 Golden Eagles set sights on struggling Pirates

Locked in a three-way tie for the top spot in the crowded Big East, the 17th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles make a trip to the Prudential Center for a tussle with the Seton Hall Pirates.

Marquette bounced back from a tough road loss to Georgetown by topping then No. 16 Pittsburgh, 79-69, at home on Saturday. The Golden Eagles have had no problem at the Bradley Center (14-0) but they have not had as much success on the road where they are just 2-5. Overall Marquette sports an 18-6 overall record as well as a 9-3 ledger in Big East play which has it tied with Syracuse and Georgetown at the top of the conference standings. The Golden Eagles have won three of the last four games and will travel to face Villanova next.

As for Seton Hall it is suffering from a seven-game losing streak after Syracuse defeated the Pirates in the first half of this two-game homestand. The Pirates are an even 13-13 overall this season but have grabbed just a pair of wins in 13 tries against league foes. With that conference record the Pirates are just a game ahead of last place South Florida in the Big East. Seton Hall will face another nationally ranked team on Saturday against No. 10 Louisville.

In 10 previous meetings between these teams, Marquette has come out on top nine times. That includes a 69-62 win at the Bradley Center in mid-January.

By shooting 56.5 percent from the floor the Golden Eagles were able to post a 10-point victory against Pittsburgh. The Golden Eagles had four players in double figures in the contest led by Vander Blue who dropped in 19 points. In the contest, Marquette led by as many as 18 points and outscored the Panthers 22-12 from the free-throw line.

Blue (14.8 ppg) quite often carries the Golden Eagles on the offensive end as the leading scorer and one of just two players putting in more than nine points per game. The 6-foot-4 guard recovered nicely from a seven-point outing against Georgetown by hitting 7-of-8 from the field against Pittsburgh. Davante Gardner (11.7 ppg) is a sparkplug off the bench, while Junior Cadougan (8.7 ppg, 4.4 apg) has been solid in setting his teammates up. Though they sit at the top of the standings in the Big East the Golden Eagles are an average offensive squad in comparison to the rest of the league. They score 69.8 points per game, shooting a solid 46.5 percent from the floor.

Seton Hall lost a 76-65 decision against Syracuse due to its inability to keep the Orange off the glass. The Pirates held Syracuse to just 38.7 percent shooting but also allowed the Orange to rip down 20 offensive rebounds for a 15-5 advantage in second-chance points.

Fuquan Edwin (17.2 ppg, 5.8 apg, 2.5 spg) is a versatile scoring guard with size who also plays pesky defense by collecting the second most steals in the conference. Edwin dropped in 21 points against Syracuse extending his streak in double figures to five games. Aaron Cosby (11.9 ppg) runs with Edwin in the backcourt as another double-digit scorer, while Eugene Teague (11.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) anchors the Pirates from the inside by finishing on 55.7 percent of his field-goal attempts. Seton Hall is closer to the bottom of the conference in scoring ranking 12th in the 15-team league (66.8), while shooting under 45 percent from the field.