With only seven scholarship players available for action, Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4) failed to right the ship, dropping their fourth straight contest as they fell 69-62 to Marquette (13-3, 4-0) on Wednesday in Wisconsin. Tonight's pace picked up where the Pirates left off on Sunday, and by that, we mean, turnover after ANOTHER turnover. The Pirates came into the game averaging 16 turnovers per game in conference play and finished just shy of that, giving up the rock 13 times this evening (credit to longtime reader, SGIII, as he was first to correctly predict the number).
It's alarming that the Pirates average one turnover per minute in the first ten minutes of action, night-in and night-out. It's shocking that Eugene Teague (5pts/11reb/6to/4ast), committed more turnovers (6), than the number of field goals the team made (4) in the first half. It's disappointing that in a game where Kevin Willard's defense managed to hold the #25th ranked Golden Eagles to 37% shooting in the first half, there was no semblance of an offensive game plan to match the defensive effort. It's downright head scratching that this basketball team cares less about ball security than Manti Te'o does about the welfare of his imaginary girlfriend.
Before we get too down on the good guys, tonight wasn't actually all that bad. For starters, the defense was particularly good. Willard's zone efficiently worked with a depleted lineup and kept the Golden Eagles under 40% for much of the evening. Haralds Karlis put on his best Brian Laing/Robert Mitchell impersonation, respectfully undermanning the PF role for the Pirates, finishing with 14pts/6reb in 39 minutes of action! Surely, he's struggled with his shot quite a bit this season, but there's no doubt that he's full of energy and plays hard, you won't find Karlis dogging it, no matter what task Willard presents him with.
In the second half, Seton Hall didn't turn the ball over for the first 5.5 minutes and only committed 3 in the frame, as they made a concentrated effort to protect the basketball. Trailing by 9 points with 11 minutes remaining in regulation, it would have been easy for the team to pack things up and head back to South Orange for a much needed bye week. Instead, they scratched, clawed and shot the 3-ball, to inch within a point just 2 minutes later. Just as good teams do at home, Marquette sustained the surge and answered with a slew of 3-pointers of their own, essentially keeping the Pirate ship at bay. I'm not expecting fans to overlook the reoccurring sloppy ball security we've become accustomed to, but given the circumstances, and the roster situation, there's a couple positives to take home from Marquette.
Seton Hall heads home to Newark, for a much needed week off. They'll return to action next Wednesday at The Rock, where they'll take on USF. Time to apply the band-aids, hit the trainer's room, get some rest and hopefully, a couple more bodies will be dressed and on the bench when the Bulls come to town.