NEWARK, N.J. — Vander Blue scored 19 points and No. 17 Marquette used a sizeable rebounding advantage to beat Seton Hall 67-46 on Tuesday night.
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. The Pirates (13-14, 2-12) dropped below the .500 mark for the first time this season – their worst league mark in 29 years.
Marquette went on a 17-0 run over a 5:38 span of the second half, right after Seton Hall grabbed a 33-32 lead. The Golden Eagles used theirs size advantage to take control, with Devante Gardner (18 points) scoring eight during that span.
Blue is averaging nearly 16 points per game since scoring his career best 30 points in a win against South Florida Jan. 28.
Marquette outrebounded Seton Hall by a 43-24 margin.
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, Aaron 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 their biggest lead at 54-34 with 9:35 left on two free throws from Lockett. Wilson hit a long 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 57-34.