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Photo by Angelina Paoline

Obiagu Sets Seton Hall Record in 73-63 Loss to No. 22 Marquette

Graduate center Ike Obiagu set the Seton Hall blocks record Wednesday night in a 73-63 loss to No. 22 Marquette.

Obiagu, now in his third season with the team, acquired his 168th career block with 13:45 remaining in the second half to break Sam Dalembert's 21-year old record. He added onto his total with another block 35 seconds later to make his career total 169.

Obiagu said of setting the school's new mark, "It means a lot. I'm very grateful and I think that's huge for me, personally. All my hard work and effort is paying off. I'm still upset we didn't get the win, but it was huge for me and I'm grateful for that."

Not many more positives were left to be taken out of the night.

Attempting to bounce back after a devastating 21-point loss to St. John's in the Pirates' first on-campus conference game in 37 years and a loss in 3 of their last 4, Seton Hall was once again without graduate point guard Bryce Aiken.

In a must-win game, the Pirates showed no first-half urgency.

Marquette got out to a lead as large as 19 at one point, as Kur Kuath's 6 blocks and Justin Lewis' 15 points sunk the Pirates' ship in the game's first 20 minutes.

This, along with a 24.2% field goal percentage and 7 turnovers saw the Pirates enter the locker room with a 17-point halftime deficit and a flurry of boos from the home crowd.

The Pirates were booed on home court for the first time since 2016.

Head coach Kevin Willard said the boos were "well deserved."

Come the second half, the Pirates started to show some life. After starting the game 1-9 from the field, senior Jared Rhoden awakened, scoring 11 in the half on 4-8 shooting and finishing with 9 rebounds.

He spearheaded an 18-6 scoring run to open the half that saw the Hall cut their deficit to just 8 points, but Marquette had decided they had enough. In just three minutes after the Pirates' run concluded, the Golden Eagles went on a streak that saw their lead balloon up to 21 points, their largest of the night.

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At another low, the Pirates found another leader in graduate guard Jamir Harris and went on a desperate 16-4 scoring run to drop the Marquette lead back to single-digits with 4 minutes remaining.

With enough time to bring the game back, the offense could not convert, despite the Golden Eagles handing them opportunities to come back into the game.

Harris' 13 second-half points were not enough for the Pirates and they lost by 10. He dropped 16 for the game on 4-8 from behind the arc.

Sophomore point guard Kadary Richmond also had a decent showing, dropping 11 points with 4 assists, but was hampered by fatigue from his 39 minutes of playing time which resulted in 6 turnovers.

"It's really hard to transition from playing 24 minutes per game to 38 or 39 minutes per game and taking on the whole load, and we've had to do that in a very short period of time," said Willard of Richmond's performance. "I'm seeing growth, even though he's struggling a little bit. I think he's not making good decisions but he's making right reads. Again, this is his first year playing point guard in college and there's always going to be a learning curve."

Poor decision-making left Seton Hall without answers for Shaka Smart and the Golden Eagles.

"I'm still a little mystified as to why we're ball-faking some open shots," said Willard. "It's been part of our struggles that when we've had open shots, we're ball-faking and driving into tough shots. I don't know where that's come from and that's something we've got to try to fix offensively. We're not flowing into offense quite as nicely as we had been earlier in the year and that's something I have to fix. I'm not putting these guys in very positions right now."

After three games in five days, the Pirates now have six days to recoup before taking on Georgetown in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.


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