Just back from the game -- what a thrill to see MU open up its conference road season with a victory. Steve Novak....I'm glad he's on our side. Here's the recap:
Novak continued his impressive play of late with 25 points and 9 rebounds tonight as MU topped the Seton Hall Pirates at the Meadowlands, 67-63.
The key play in the game came with roughly four minutes remaining and Seton Hall leading MU by a point, 60-59. The Pirates battled back from an eight-point deficit early in the second half, and were holding MU at bay for several minutes. With the shot clock winding down and MU's offense noticeably out of synch, Novak somehow sank an off-balance three-pointer to put MU up 62-60. MU never trailed again.
Dominic James had 13 points for the Golden Eagles while Jerel McNeal had nine.
Tonight's game was rarely played crisply, as both teams struggled to find any rhythm throughout. MU committed 16 turnovers, six by McNeal. Of greater concern was the lack of defensive intensity, particularly in the first half when Seton Hall failed to capitalize on several open looks from the perimeter that MU did not aggressively contest.
The win moves MU to 2-1 in the Big East, with a road game at West Virginia looming. MU is now 12-4 overall.
Prior to the game, the Marquette Office of Alumni Relations hosted a well-attended reception at a nearby hotel. More than 60 alums attended the event, which were highlighted by remarks from Bill Cords. MU was well represented at the game as well with gold shirts scattered throughout the arena (MU sold 200+ tickets to the event via their allotment -- there were many more who bought tix on their own).
A few other observations:
- The Meadowlands is a terrible place for college basketball. I don't understand why SHU doesn't simply shut down the upper deck for midweek games and try to fill the lower bowl. At times the arena was as loud as a mausoleum.
- Despite thousands of empty seats, the ushers at the arena would not allow patrons from the upper deck (the dozens and dozens of us who weere there) to move to seats in the lower bowl.
- Marquette's home court advantage relative to SHU's is beyond compare.
- SHU has more cheerleaders than any university I've ever seen. Thankfully, none of them are men.
- I give the SHU students who attend these games alot of credit.......The arena is at least 30 minutes from campus, but the kids worked hard to support their team. They just need more help.
- I liked the SHU band. I didn't hear 'Final Countdown' or 'Elvira' tonight. But I did hear a cover of a Blink-182 song - - nice touch.
- Wesley Matthews was on crutches on the bench -- a sad sight.
- Dominic James is spectacular.
- Ousmane Barro has the best hands of any of MU's big men. He tallied five points in the last seven minutes of play and turned in nice defensive work down the stretch against Kelly Whitney. Well done.
- The officials were brutal down the stretch. Time for these guys to move over to the MEAC.
- It was pleasure to see 'Avalanche Archie' and 'MUfanatic82' (I hope I got that right) at the game tonight.
- Per gomarquette.com -- Steve Novak is now MU's all-time leader in three-point field goals. Extraordinary.
Here's the AP recap.
Here's the gomarquette recap.
Here's the Newark Star Ledger's take on the game.
Here's the Journal-Sentinel's recap from Todd Rosiak. Tom Crean summed up the night this way:
"I'm exhilarated to have a win like this, here," said coach Tom Crean, whose team was playing its first game away from the Bradley Center in more than a month. "Any win you get on the road in this league is a very valuable and precious commodity."