"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Marquette survives against Seton Hall

It was not the track meet many expected, but Marquette overcame a 13 point first half deficit to edge the Seton Hall Pirates 61-56 tonight at the Bradley Center. Dan Fitzgerald's fourth three-pointer of the night off a feed from Wesley Matthews with just seconds remaining sealed the win. Marquette moves to 12-2 on the season, and 2-1 in Big East play.

Jerel McNeal led MU with 14 points, followed by Dominic James with 13 and Fitzgerald with a cool dozen. Fitzgerald was 4-9 from the field, with all of his attempts coming from three-point territory. Maurice Acker played a season-high 28 minutes last night, and his energy was a big part of MU's second half comeback. The diminutive sophomore landed up with five points and six assists before fouling out.

For the third straight game, MU was flat coming out of the locker room. The Pirates used an 11-0 run to fight to a 22-9 lead through the first thirteen minutes of the game. How bad was MU's start? At the twelve minute mark, the Golden Eagles were 1-10 from beyond the arc and had more turnovers than made baskets. Seton Hall carried a 31-24 into the half.

The key sequence of the game happened with six minutes remaining and MU down by two, 47-49. SHU's Jamar Nutter intentionally fouled Dominic James on a breakaway layup, sending James to the locker room. James' layup was good and Acker, who started in the second half in place of Wesley Matthews, made both free throws to put MU ahead. MU never relinquished the lead from that point on, though the Hall kept it close until Fitzgerald's clutch bucket closed the scoring. James later returned to the floor, but went to the hospital for tests on his right wrist after the game.

This was some kind of ugly win. Whle MU's defense was solid, the offense was abominable throughout this game. As a team the Golden Eagles shot 32% from the field (realize that SHU was the league's worst defensive team coming into the game). Amazingly, against a team with average (at best) bigs, Barro and Burke combined for one field goal attempt in 39 minutes of action. The shot was missed.


Rosiak on MU's win

Zagoria blogs on the MU win

SportsNetwork recap

AP Recap / Box Score / Play by Play

Shots from Section 204


Gene Frenkle said...

I'll take the W, but man, that was one of the ugliest first halfs of ball I've seen out of MU since the Diener-less PG games of late 2004/2005. Just brutal.

Kudos to the team for suckin' it up and getting the W, though. Seton Hall's one-on-one ball in half two helped too.

Worst game of the year for Hayward too. Too much standing, and they weren't running plays for him. When he finally got an open three, he buried it (a big three at that).

The one thing that's killing me is Burke. He's not good. I can't believe Crean didn't bring in Blackledge in the first half just to spark the team. Hell, I would've brought in Hazel too. They needed a spark and looked brutal. McNeal's quick burst at the end of the first half really brought some life before halftime at least.

Anonymous said...

17 pt favorite. Wish I would've had the money to bet Seton Hall in that one. Wouldn't that mean MU would've had to score over 102 pts? Without Fitzgerald we lose that game.

Anonymous said...

oh well, at least we didn't drop 2 straight. a win is a win, now it's time to focus on ND for saturday

Anonymous said...

Matthews walked on the last play.

Anonymous said...

I am making an excuse but I think fatigue was a factor. Three games in six days and who knows how hard practise was. I think everything is compounded when one is tired. You don't defend as well. Don't get open as much hence causing rushed shots and the muscles such on height on shot and arm motion just isn't there. Shooting seems like a fine tuned process and fatigue would take a major toll on it.

Anonymous said...

Team was definitely out of sync again. What really bothers me is the play of Mathews. Does he have an injury no one is talking about?? He is totally out of rhythm, his shot is flat and even his defense is not up to par. Made one nice put-back dunk. But putting in Acker for better defense???? Anybody have any insight ??

Anonymous said...

They didn't put Acker in for defense...they put him because Crean likes to give James a look at zones from the wing.

Anonymous said...

I share your concerns on Matthews. He's my favorite player on the team given how hard and smart he plays, but he seems very out of sync. We need him to get a win in the NCAA. Lot's of time left, but a real concern.

MBRox said...

gene, did you happen to see last year's first round game of the ncaa? yikes, talk about ugly first halves. it makes my stomach hurt to watch games like that and last night, when MU comes out of the gate, looking nervous and careless. Crean needs to do something to get the team starting out warmed up and coming out confident, especially on our home turf! Hopefully we can get the mental game together by Saturday. We can beat the Irish!

Gene Frenkle said...

Crean can try to get the team fired up, but confidence is something the players need to muster when coming off a tough road loss.

Who knows, maybe doubt crept in for them. They looked very tired and lethargic last night. And I'd say that first half was worse than MSU, actually. They are more talented this year and should have been better prepared.

Barro's lack of attempts isn't surprising considering how little he got to run the floor and the guards never penetrated and dished inside. Burke is just plain bad. I'm back to cringing when he's in.

Blackledge deserves some time...especially at home where he can fire up the crowd w/his energy.

Lastly, Acker will never be a scorer first. He'll always be a PG and that's great to see. His size dictates that, but he bounced back nicely last night, especially in the second half.