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Another second half rally sparks Marquette to seventh straight win

*Editor’s note: This story was originally published by the Sports Xchange, written by Mark Strotman*

Marquette’s slow starts have now extended into the second half of games, but the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles continue to win.

Marquette earned its seventh consecutive Big East victory Tuesday night at the Bradley Center, shaking off another first-half deficit to take down Seton Hall, 66-59.

Golden Eagles sophomore guard Vander Blue had his most impressive performance of the Big East season, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds. Teammate Jae Crowder scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, and Darius Johnson-Odom had 14 for Marquette (19-4, 8-2 Big East).

It was another slow start for the Golden Eagles, but they used a 16-2 run midway through the second half to pull away from the Pirates (15-7, 4-6).

With Marquette trailing 36-30 midway through the second half, Blue reeled off seven consecutive points to give Marquette its first lead of the night. The run began with an alley-oop pass from Junior Cadougan. On the Golden Eagles’ next possession, Blue nailed a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to pull Marquette within one. Blue then was on the receiving end of a Johnson-Odom pass and laid it in to give Marquette a 39-38 lead.

Those seven points were part of the stretch that pushed the lead to nine with less than nine minutes to play.

Playing much of the second half without Pope, who picked up his third and fourth fouls shortly after halftime, Seton Hall got 3-pointers from Jordan Theodore and Fuquan Edwin to keep the lead from extending to double digits.

But for every small run the Pirates made, Marquette had an answer. Following the Golden Eagles’ run that extended the lead to nine, the Pirates never got closer than four points.

Holding a 59-55 lead with under three minutes to go, the Golden Eagles clamped down defensively and forced the Pirates into a shot-clock violation. Crowder sank two free throws on the other end, then contested a Pope layup to give Marquette the ball back.

Marquette then made five of six free throws in the closing minute to seal its longest win streak since the 2008-09 season, when it won its first nine Big East games.

Already missing center Chris Otule, who is sidelined due to a season-ending knee injury, Marquette also was without 6-foot-8 sophomore Davante Gardner for the game because of a sprained left knee. Seton Hall took advantage of Marquette’s lack of height in the front court in the early going, scoring 22 of its 30 first-half points in the paint, 10 of which came from Pope.

Pope finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in 28 foul-plagued minutes, and Edwin added 13 points. Theodore was limited to seven points but handed out seven assists.

A sloppy first half from Marquette included 11 turnovers. But playing without its two tallest players, the Golden Eagles still managed to outrebound the Pirates 37-33 for the game and had 30 points in the paint.

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  1. Daybreak Doppler: Not Pretty, But Still Winning | PocketDoppler.com - February 1, 2012

    […] At the Bradly Center last night, another second half rally sparks Marquette to seventh straight win. […]

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