GAME NOTES: The Seton Hall Pirates will try to bounce back from a loss at No. 6 Villanova when they host the Marquette Golden Eagles in a Big East Conference clash at the Prudential Center.
Marquette had lost two of three games, including an overtime defeat against Villanova at the end of January, before beating Butler on Feb. 4 in the team's most recent outing, 69-62. The Golden Eagles are 5-5 in the Big East standings.
Seton Hall has lost two of its last three games, including the 70-53 loss against Villanova Friday. The Pirates are 4-6 in the conference, which sets them five games behind Villanova for the Big East lead.
Marquette has dominated the all-time series between these two programs, leading 12-2. Marquette swept the season series in 2012-2013, and won the earlier matchup between the two sides earlier this season, 67-66, in Milwaukee.
Butler led by two points as the teams broke for the intermission, 25-23, in Marquette's last matchup. But the Golden Eagles came storming back in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs by nine points and earning the victory. Jamil Wilson and Todd Mayo each scored 17 points to pace the Eagles, with Davante Gardner adding 13 points to the fray. Deonte Burton chipped in 11 points, and Derrick Wilson added a team-high eight assists.
Gardner leads the team in scoring this season with a 14.6 ppg average on 53.3 percent shooting from the floor. Gardner's 6 rpg average is also a team best. Jamil Wilson checks in at second in team scoring, averaging 11.5 ppg with a second-best 5.3 rpg clip. Derrick Wilson leads the team with 94 total assists on the year.
There wasn't much the Seton Hall Pirates could do to slow down the sixth- ranked Wildcats in Friday's Big East bout. Villanova, which has lost just two games all season long, jumped ahead by eight points at the intermission, and continued to build on its lead in the second half. Sterling Gibbs led all Seton Hall scorers with 16 points, while Eugene Teague, who missed four games due to a concussion earlier this season, netted 10 points. The Pirates shot 43.5 percent from the floor in the loss.
Gibbs paces the Pirates in scoring this season with a 14.5 ppg average, highlighted by a team-best 96 assists on the year. Fuquan Edwin is second on the team with a 13.9 ppg average, and Brian Oliver is third at 11.9 ppg. Teague is next at 10.4 ppg with a team best 8 rpg mark. The Pirates have had injury issues this season, with only two players on the roster suiting up for all 23 games.
The Pirates have a strong team when completely healthy, which they currently are at the moment. Marquette has been playing well, especially on the defensive end by limiting teams to just 65 ppg. The Golden Eagles won the earlier matchup this season by one point, but in New Jersey, the Pirates should prevail.
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