Pulling away midway through the second half, the Marquette Golden Eagles staved off feisty Seton Hall en route to a 69-62 victory Wednesday night.
Davante Gardner led all scorers with 17 points, and Todd Mayo’s 12 points late in the game helped Marquette preserve its perfect Big East record, which now stands at 4-0.
The victory would not come easily, as has been the trend in all of Marquette’s conference games thus far. Seton Hall quickly closed a 10-point halftime deficit to three with 10:14 remaining when Aaron Cosby scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers.
Haralds Karlis netted two foul shots to make the score 40-39 with 9:09 to go, but that is the closest Seton Hall would get the rest of the way.
After a Gardner layup and free throw the next trip down the floor, Juan Anderson followed with a 3-pointer to widen the lead to 46-39.
Jamil Wilson finished on a back-door dunk with 6:17 left to push the lead to eight, and Mayo’s two pairs of free throws and 3-pointer soon after made the Marquette lead 60-48 with 3:09 remaining. After several empty trips down the floor, the Pirates were forced to chase and foul.
A sluggish first half was problematic for both squads. Despite Marquette leading 26-16 at the break, the Golden Eagles suffered a 6:54 field goal drought and had trouble shooting from the perimeter. The Pirates went the final eight minutes of the half without a field goal, and the 16-point half was their lowest first-half output of the year.
Turnovers would plague the Pirates all night; the team committed eight turnovers in the first eight minutes of action and finished with 17 total. Marquette turned these miscues into 20 points.
The Golden Eagles got a major lift from their bench, contributing 39 points. Seton Hall didn’t have much of a bench to play with. The Pirates had only seven players available because of injury woes, and were forced to play the last 1:40 with just five when Fuquan Edwin fouled out.
Marquette travels to No. 24 Cincinnati on Saturday, while Seton Hall, now 1-4 in Big East play, hosts South Florida next Wednesday.