Seton Hall frustrated after another loss

  • Article by: JIM HAGUE
  • Associated Press
  • February 19, 2013 - 9:50 PM

NEWARK, N.J. - The frustration level finally reached a boiling point for Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, after his team lost its eighth straight game.

Willard was so upset after the 67-46 loss to No. 17 Marquette on Tuesday night that he closed off his locker room to the media.

"They're not in a good mind to talk right now," Willard said after the game. "They're upset and embarrassed and I don't think it's the right thing to do. They're having a little team meeting, they'll go back to the dorms, but they will not talk tonight."

Willard questioned his team's toughness after getting devastated in the second half by the Golden Eagles, getting outscored, 40-19, after intermission and getting outrebounded, 43-24, overall.

"The injuries have demoralized this team," said Willard, who fielded an undermanned team once again, minus one more in forward Brandon Mobley, who will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery in the coming days. "When you're down like that, runs like the ones Marquette had in the second half happen. There are a couple changes we need to make for next year, bring in guys who have a little more fight than these guys have."

After entering halftime tied at 27-27, the Golden Eagles outscored the Pirates 17-0 during one stretch and 25-1 over an eight-minute span.

"We have to figure out a way to play the last five games of the season," said Willard, whose team dropped below the .500 mark for the first time this season at 13-14 and 2-12 in the Big East, their worst league mark in 29 years.

The win enabled the Golden Eagles (19-6, 10-3 Big East) to hold onto first place in the conference with their fourth win in the last five outings.

Vander Blue scored 19 points and Devante Gardner added 18, 14 of which came in the second half, to pace Marquette.

Even Marquette coach Buzz Williams was sympathetic of Willard's plight.

"Kevin Willard is a really good coach," Williams said. "I think any coach who had to deal with the level of injuries he's had would have the same problem. He doesn't know who's hurt, who's playing and that's hard to coach like that."

Fuquan Edwin had 14 points and Aaron Cosby 11 for Seton Hall.

Marquette and Seton Hall traded the lead nine times during a closely contested and tightly played first half.

Seton Hall's biggest lead came after Kyle Smyth drained a 3-pointer with 13:40 left, giving the Pirates a 10-7 lead.

After the game was tied at 17-17, Marquette went on a 10-3 run to take a 27-20 lead with 49 seconds left. Jamil Wilson scored the final three points.

But the Pirates then scored the final seven points of the half in a span of just 22 seconds to tie the game again at 27-27. Edwin had a rebound basket, Cosby hit a 3-pointer, then Aaron Geramipoor made two rare free throws on a one-and-one with 0.4 seconds remaining, sending the two teams into the locker room even.

Trent Lockett hit a 3-pointer to give Marquette a 30-27 lead coming out to start the second half, but the Pirates then outscored the Golden Eagles, 6-2, to take a 33-32 lead on a layup from Tom Mayaan.

But Blue then took over for the Golden Eagles, hitting a driving left-handed shot off glass and following it up with a long corner 3-pointer, giving Marquette a 39-33 lead with 16:20 left. Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard was whistled for a technical foul as he called a time out, and Gardner hit one of two free throws, pushing the lead to 40-33.

Gardner then took over down low, scoring 10 of his team's 12 points, as the Golden Eagles took a 54-34 lead with 9:35 left on two free throws from Lockett.

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