Free throws down the stretch help Marquette escape Seton Hall

Continuing a season-long trend of beating every team it should beat, Marquette barely escaped Seton Hall 67-66 Saturday afternoon.

Made free throws were crucial down the stretch as Marquette went 9-for-10 over the final seven minutes. A team that came in shooting 66.7 percent for the season went 18-for-23 for the game (78.3 percent).

The Pirates were again without the services of Gene Teague and played with a less-than-100 percent Fuquan Edwin.

Jamil Wilson posted his second career double-double, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. His free throws gave Marquette is 65-60 lead after Seton Hall cut it to three with less than two minutes to play.

The Pirates weren’t done, however. A three from Brian Oliver — his third of the game — made it 65-63 Marquette with 23.3 seconds left.

Todd Mayo led all scorers with 19 points, including five big free throws down the stretch. Mayo was 9-for-9 from the line.

Edwin missed a wide open layup with 5 seconds left and although Jamil Wilson missed the front end of a 1-and-1, a Sterling Gibbs three was too little, too late.

It looked like a blowout was in the works when Derrick Wilson hit a fadeaway jumper on the first possession of the second half gave Marquette its largest lead at 42-26.

The Golden Eagles fell into one of its patented offensive ruts a few minutes later, however. After a Todd Mayo layup with 16:18 left, Marquette went scoreless until a Deonte Burton layup with 12:50 left.

Seton Hall cut the Marquette lead to 52-47 with 10:51 left on a Sterling Gibbs three-point play.

Both teams went through scoring droughts until Oliver’s three cut the lead to 58-52 with 5:32 left. Patrik Auda had a chance to cut into the lead even further, but missed a pair of free throws.

Marquette led 40-26 in the first half while shooting 56 percent. Wilson led all scorers with 12 points and Mayo chipped in 10.

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