Golden Eagles Advance to Big East Quarterfinals

March 12, 2008

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NEW YORK - Jerel McNeal scored 21 points and No. 25 Marquette held Seton Hall scoreless over the final five minutes of a 67-54 victory Wednesday night in the opening round of the Big East tournament.

The sixth-seeded Golden Eagles (23-8) will play third-seeded and 14th-ranked Notre Dame in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

Both teams struggled offensively with Marquette shooting 34.4 percent (22-for-64), while Seton Hall shot 33.9 percent (20-for-59). The Pirates' plan worked well for 35 minutes as they were within 57-54 before ending the game by coming up empty on their last 10 possessions. The Golden Eagles closed with a 10-0 run.

Jamar Nutter and Eugene Harvey both had 15 points for Seton Hall (17-15), which lost its fourth straight overall and third this season to Marquette. This was the Pirates' fourth straight first-round loss in the Big East and they have lost five in a row at Madison Square Garden.

Lazar Hayward had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Marquette, while Dominic James added 11 points. The Golden Eagles finished with a 56-37 rebound advantage, including 25-13 on the offensive end. All three of Seton Hall's big men fouled out.

Reserve guard Maurice Acker had five points but they all came in the final 5:36. He hit Marquette's only 3-pointer of the second half to give the Golden Eagles a 57-53 lead, and his driving jumper as the shot clock expired made it 62-54 with 2:38 to go.

Marquette, which struggled from the field in the previous two games with Seton Hall, finished 3-for-17 from 3-point range.

Brian Laing, the Pirates' leading scorer with a 19.0 average, finished with six points on 3-for-10 shooting. Seton Hall was 4-for-20 from behind the arc.




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