Marquette beats Seton Hall, moves on to face Notre Dame tonight
Marquette had an absolutely awful shooting performance last night, from
free throws to 3-pointers. Thank goodness they out-rebounded Seton Hall
56-37, including 25 offensive boards.
Lazar Hayward was one offensive shining star as he collected his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The big story of the night, however, was the spectacular defense of Jerel McNeal. He was all over Brian Laing like white on rice. Laing has averaged 19 points a game this season and McNeal kept him to just 6 points last night.
The entire team seemed to get with the program near the end of the second half (finally!) They held Seton Hall scoreless over the final five minutes of the game and went on a 10-0 run to close the game.
All of Seton Hall's big men were frustrated throughout the game and all three ended up fouling out of the game. At one point, the announcers ruminated that Seton Hall was running low on players. They speculated that Seton Hall had just nine guys, with three already having fouled out, leaving them with just one sub.
My biggest fear with this Marquette team this season has been the inability to put teams away. We have seen it happen over and over this season and it always made me say the next day that we wouldn't be able to do that against a "real" team because it would come back and bite us. Here we are at the end of the regular season and Marquette's racked up a pretty impressive record, are ranked in the top 25 and should be a solid middle seed in the NCAA tournament. My fear, apparently, had no basis in reality.
At work today we went over the many, many things about this team that we don't understand/drive us nuts/we think will eventually be the downfall of the team. Number one on this list is Dan Fitzgerald. As far as I'm concerned, he's the embodiment of the Golden Eagles' biggest fault: unfortunate and inappropriate shot selection. We all know MU is a small team. Too many games we'd seem them attempt to penetrate, get rebuffed by some big men and regress behind the 3-point arc where we put up countless questionable triples that never had a shot at going in.
I've never been able to figure out why MU doesn't use their size to their advantage. We're going to bounce of the defense's big men on our way to the basket and most times we're going to draw the foul. We should be able to put two-to-three guys a game on the bench in early foul trouble. Instead, we putz around on the outside until there's only a few seconds on the shot clock and have to heave something up. It's so frustrating!