Marquette was paced by sophomore guards Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews, who tallied 22 points apiece to lead all scorers. McNeal also grabbed 10 boards and nearly had a triple double, dishing out a team high 7 assists.
The pace was quick early, as Seton Hall pressed on almost every possession. The normally mild mannered Golden Eagles offense, ranked just 8th in the Big East, ran up 89 points thanks to hot shooting and excellent ball control. MU shot 58% for the game and 42% from beyond the arc.
"It was a good night for us offensively," said Matthews of his team's hot shooting. "People were getting us good looks and we got the ball into the lane a ton."
Marquette scored a season high 56 points in the paint and also outscored the Pirates on the fast break, 38-2. It was pace that suited McNeal just fine.
"We want to play more up-tempo," he said. "When they started pressing, we did a great job getting 3 on 2's and 2 on 1's in the fast break.
"Things started with us defensively, but at the same time, guys were having a great shooting night."
The Pirates were led in scoring by Jamar Nutter, who came off the bench to score 18 points. Last season, the junior guard scored a team high 19 against Marquette.
Seton Hall fell behind by as many as 20 when a lay-up by Matthews at the 14:18 mark in the second half made the score 63-43. The Pirates, (11-8 overall, 3-4 in Big East) did not go quietly, however, whittling Marquette's lead to just five at 68-63 with just over seven minutes remaining. From there though, Mathews and McNeal took control of the lead for good thanks to several free throws from both and a key three from McNeal.
"Anytime you are in a league like this, you want to hold serve at home," said Tom Crean. "We wanted to attack and get fast break points; it is part of our recipe for success when we are executing."
After an 0-2 start to the Big East season, Marquette is now just a game behind first place Pittsburgh, who clobbered Cincinnati, 67-51, to move to 6-1 in the Big East.
**Andrew Sharos is a senior with a double major in History and Secondary Education. He is also the Head Student Writer for MarquetteHoops.com.