State Basketball Roundup: Marquette in first place in the Big EastWisconsin Sports
-- The Marquette University men’s basketball team moved into sole possession of first place in the Big East Conference last night, after crushing Seton Hall 67-46 in Newark, New Jersey.
NEWARK, N.J. - The Marquette University men’s basketball team moved into sole possession of first place in the Big East Conference last night, after crushing Seton Hall 67-46 in Newark, New Jersey.
The 17th-ranked Golden Eagles are 10-3 in conference play with five games left – and they’re currently a half-game up on both Syracuse and Georgetown, which are both at 9-3. Marquette came out sluggish against the Pirates. They were tied at 27 at the half – but the Eagles put the game away with a 25-to-1 run over a nine-minute stretch in the second half. They out-scored Seton Hall 38-to-14 in the paint. Vander Blue scored 19 points for the second straight game for Marquette. Davante Gardner had 18 off the bench, including 10 during the Eagles’ decisive second-half run. Fuquan Edwin scored 14 for Seton Hall, which dropped to 2-and-12 in the Big East and 13-and-14 overall. The Pirates are now 0-and-7 against ranked opponents this season. Marquette won its 11th game in its last 12 against Seton Hall. The Eagles are now 3-and-5 in true road games, and they’re 19-and-6 overall. Marquette will play at Villanova on Saturday.
There were a few notable upsets last night, as the state boys’ high school basketball post-season got underway. Four 12th-seeded teams knocked off No. 5 seeds in their regional openers. Those winners were Mayville in Division 3 and Rib Lake, Gibraltar, and Heritage Christian in D-Five. The highest seed to lose was a No. 3, as Marion fell to Northland Lutheran 68-52 in Division 5. All of the top seeds and defending champions had first-round byes except in Division-Five, where all seven Number-Ones that played won their openers. That included A-P Number-One Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran, and defending champ Sheboygan Lutheran. Over 12 teams which had their games postponed to tonight due to snowy weather. After those games are finished, 64 teams will remain in each of the five divisions. Second-round games will be played on Friday and Saturday. The four finalists in each division will square off at the state tournament in Madison starting on March seventh. By the way, it was two years ago when the Division 1 field at state was reduced to eight to four – not one year ago, as we reported yesterday.
There was a mild upset last night in the opening round of the WIAC men’s basketball tournament, as fourth-seeded UW-La Crosse lost at home to No. 5 Platteville 60-58. Marcus Jackson put La Crosse in front for good by hitting a jump shot with just under 10 minutes left. In the other first round contest, third-seeded Stout eliminated Superior at home, 78-64. Chris Hortman scored 21 points for Stout, which will play at second-seeded Whitewater in the semi-finals tomorrow night. Platteville will be at top-seeded Stevens Point in the other semi. The winners will play for the tournament title on Saturday. The WIAC women’s tournament opens tonight.
The two top seeds will play for the Northern Athletics Conference men’s tournament title on Saturday. Number-One Lakeland will host No. 2 Aurora, after both won their semi-final contests last night. Lakeland eliminated fourth-seeded Concordia-Mequon 69-68. Justin Ward had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Lakeland. Aurora topped Dominican 71-67. Esteban Vega had 25 points, and he hit all 10 of his free throws. Meanwhile, the NAC women’s tournament resumes tonight with the semi-finals.