No. 20 Seton Hall has little time to regroup from Thursday’s difficult defeat.
The Pirates must pick themselves up and make the short trip from Chicago to Milwaukee to take on Marquette on Saturday afternoon for their second Big East game in less than 48 hours.
Seton Hall (11-4, 2-3) lost 96-92 Thursday night at DePaul in a game rescheduled from Dec. 23 due to Seton Hall’s COVID-19 pause. Facing an opponent that entered the contest with an 0-5 Big East record, the Pirates fell behind early and trailed 52-35 at halftime.
Seton Hall cut the deficit to 11 points on Myles Cale’s 3-pointer with 10:18 to go, then came within single digits on Ike Obiagu’s bucket and foul with 4:49 left. The Pirates scored 16 points in the last 43 seconds, twice pulling to within two points, but DePaul made 9 of 10 free throws in the last 35 seconds to hold on.
Despite grinding out a comeback that fell just short, Pirates coach Kevin Willard wasn’t ready to take away many positives.
“We just gave up 96 points. I don’t think we found anything defensively,” Willard said in his postgame radio interview. “We’re just not very connected right now defensively.”
Jared Rhoden led Seton Hall with 25 points and Bryce Aiken contributed 22, with 11-of-12 shooting from the foul line. As a team, the Pirates made only 5 of 18 3-pointers.
It was a letdown for a Pirates team that was coming off last Saturday’s overtime win over UConn, 90-87.
But now, the Big East schedule is in full swing after much of December was rife with schedule interruptions. Willard initially complained about the DePaul game being rescheduled for the middle of an off week when he’d planned to get his players some practice time and rest.
“We won’t watch the film until next week,” Willard said Thursday. “We have to get ready to play a very good Marquette team that likes to push the pace.”
Marquette (11-6, 3-3) beat DePaul 87-76 Tuesday in its last time out. The Golden Eagles have rebounded from a four-game losing streak with three straight Big East victories in which they’ve scored 87 or more points.
A different player has led Marquette in scoring in each of those games. On Tuesday, it was Greg Elliott with a career-best 25 points off the bench. He made 7 of 11 from the floor, 4 of 6 from deep and 7 of 7 at the foul line while adding five assists.
Marquette also routed then-No. 16 Providence in surprising fashion, 88-56, on Jan. 4. The Golden Eagles shot 52.5 percent from the field, with 24 assists on 31 field goals, while holding Providence to 32.8 percent shooting in a dominant display.
In his first season leading Marquette, coach Shaka Smart is having his players vote on which of their teammates played a crucial role in triggering a win, like the first domino knocking down a line.
“Of the 10 previous wins, we’ve had nine different guys get voted by their teammates as domino of the game, so that’s an indication of the fact that we’re a team that is going to benefit from having strength in numbers,” Smart said.
–Field Level Media
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