Marquette defeats Seton Hall 73-64
Jimmy Butler scored 16 points to lead the Golden Eagles to a 73-64 win over Seton Hall on Saturday night. Darius Johnson-Odom added 13 points for Marquette (16-11, 7-7 Big East), who used an 18-5 run midway through the second half to pull away.
"Let's change it up," Williams, the Marquette coach, said of his decision to bench starters Jae Crowder, the team's leading rebounder, and Dwight Buycks, who leads Marquette in assists. "It was nothing Buycks did. It was nothing Jae did.
"I just want to win. If you can help us win, you can play."
Crowder responded with 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes, and Buycks had 11 points, four rebounds, five assists, two steals and no turnovers in 31 minutes. Chris Otule made all five of his shots and had 10 points, all in the first half, and eight rebounds.
Jeremy Hazell led Seton Hall (11-16, 5-10) with 23 points. He made four 3-pointers to become the all-time leader in Big East play with 192, passing Colin Falls, who sank 189 at Notre Dame from 2003-07.
Pirates center Herb Pope, third in the league in rebounding (8.6 per game), fouled out in 15 minutes with six points and two rebounds.
Marquette outrebounded Seton Hall, 40-22.
"They beat on the boards tremendously," Hazell said. "They got a lot of second-chance shots, and that's what killed us. They trashed us on the rebounding."
It was the Golden Eagles' eighth-straight win over Seton Hall, which has lost four of its last five. Marquette shot 55.1 percent (27-49).
"This is the highest field goal percentage we've given up all year, so I give them credit," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "They remind me a lot of Villanova the way they attack you. They get to the free throw line a lot, and they always have you a little on guard."
Senior forward Joseph Fulce replaced Crowder, a junior, and sophomore guard Junior Cadougan replaced Buycks, a senior, for Marquette, which had lost of three of its previous four and five of seven.
Crowder is the team's third-leading scorer (13 points per game) and is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game. Buycks is averaging 4.2 assists per game and is fourth in scoring (9.8).
It was Fulce's first start of the season and Cadougan's second. Both Crowder and Buycks entered the game in the opening minutes of the first half.
"I think he did it to me because he knows I am one of the guys who can take it," Crowder said. "I took it and just tried to contribute in some way."
Added Crowder: "We're just trying to string it together, going into the tournament. We set a goal for ourselves to try and win out. We look at it like our back is against the wall."
Marquette came in squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble but facing a favorable stretch of games, with four of the team's final five opponents in the bottom half of the Big East standings.
"We need to win, and all of those games that we lost you could argue we should have or could have or needed to win, but we didn't make enough winning plays to win," Williams said. "I thought that tonight that we did."
This game was anything but easy early, however.
Marquette led by just three, 48-45, after Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin's runner with 11:43 remaining. The Pirates scored just one field goal over next 6:42 as the Golden Eagles went on their 18-5 run.
Little-used reserve center Davante Gardner led the charge with all seven of his points and an assist during the spurt.
"Davante was the swing vote in the second," Williams said.
Said Willard: "(Otule and Gardner) played well. If I could put a 6-foot-10 guy in there and just duck in the whole time and not get a three-second call or an offensive foul, I'd have a good game too."
Hazell had 10 points for Seton Hall in the first half, including the record-setting 3-pointer with 5:50 left.
He was humble when asked about it afterward.
"Just playing hard and never giving up and being the player that I am," he said.