The men’s basketball team dropped its first of a three-game homestand to Marquette, 77-66, despite holding a six-point lead with nine minutes left in the game on Tuesday night.
Foul trouble, missed opportunities and lack of rebounding plagued the Pirates in the second half as the Golden Eagles went on a 27-10 run to close out the game and steal a victory.
“We just want to get good shots every single possession, especially with the lead,” redshirt sophomore Sterling Gibbs said. “We had a six-point lead and the ball was in our hands. The game was ours to lose. A couple of things went Marquette’s way and they hit some shots making it tough to come back.”
Marquette’s Jamil Wilson came out of the gate with the hot hand, hitting four 3-pointers and accounting for 14 of his team’s first 16 points. Back-to-back triples from senior Fuquan Edwin and junior Brian Oliver gave the Pirates some life as it got them within four points.
Trailing 30-22 with four minutes left in the first half, Gibbs ignited the Pirates with a corner three, which set up consecutive 3-pointers from Brandon Mobley. Gibbs struggled from the free-throw line, shooting only 4-10 from the stripe, but finished the game with 12 points and a team-high 4 rebounds.
“We haven’t gotten off to good starts at home,” Pirates’ head coach Kevin Willard said. “We seem to get the motor running a little bit and we play better, but they (Marquette) had a week to get ready for us and they came out really well prepared.”
Oliver continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, and kept The Hall in the game early in the second half by adding three more 3-pointers to his resume. He finished with a team-high 15 points.
After junior Patrik Auda hit both of his free throws to give Seton Hall a 56-50 lead, the game went downhill from there and the Golden Eagles took advantage of a fatigued Pirates squad.
“We let the game slip towards the end,” Edwin said. “We had them right where we wanted them and got a good run towards the end, but we just fell short and let them get some easy opportunities.”
Edwin did not have his best performance in a game that needed him, shooting 4-11 from the field for 9 points.
Marquette outrebounded The Hall 32-19 and attempted 20 more free throws, making it difficult for the Pirates to keep up with the Golden Eagles. Wilson finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds, and big-man Davante Gardner added 16 points in the victory.
The Pirates will look to rebound against St. John’s on Thursday after coming up short in the two teams’ last contest that resulted in a 77-76 loss for Seton Hall.
Mike Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.