Seton Hall should have a little pep in its step when it welcomes No. 20 Marquette to Newark, N.J., on Saturday for a Big East Conference contest.
The Pirates (12-8, 5-4) are hungry to down another ranked opponent after pulling off a thrilling 67-66 victory over No. 15 UConn on Wednesday. Seton Hall erased a 17-point deficit, and KC Ndefo converted a putback layup with 1.6 seconds remaining to send the Pirates to their fourth straight win.
“To tell you the truth, I just like the fight in us,” Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway said. “I just want my team to fight. I think if we fight and just defend, we give ourself a chance of winning.”
While Ndefo hasn’t been stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis, he’s still been a catalyst for the Pirates during their recent run of success thanks to his grit — something Holloway saw value in when Ndefo played under him at St. Peter’s for four seasons.
“That’s why he’s here. That’s why I brought him here with me,” Holloway said. “He has something that most guys don’t have. When you say a skill, to me that’s a skill. Being tough.”
That toughness was on full display on Wednesday, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the Seton Hall faithful.
“Oh my gosh, it was amazing (Wednesday),” Ndefo said of the atmosphere at Prudential Center. “Go Pirates, go Pirates fans, man. We love you guys. Keep coming out.”
The crowd could be a factor against the Golden Eagles (15-5, 7-2).
Marquette is 11-1 in Milwaukee but has dropped three of its six true road games this season.
After seeing its five-game winning streak snapped by then-No. 12 Xavier last Sunday, Marquette used Wednesday’s 83-75 win against No. 22 Providence to get back on track. Kam Jones finished with a game-high 21 points, while Tyler Kolek supplied 19 to complement eight rebounds and six assists.
Saturday marks the Golden Eagles’ first game against an unranked opponent since Jan. 7, but Jones emphasized that Marquette isn’t overlooking anyone in the conference.
“We just look at games just like any other game, no matter the team. Don’t get too high on wins, don’t get too low on losses,” Jones said. “We took a tough loss at Xavier. … We just got to put that night to bed, come out the next night and be ready to play, no matter who’s on the schedule.”
That ability to stay on an even keel has helped the Golden Eagles climb near the top in the Big East, and Marquette doesn’t plan on sliding anytime soon.
“We’re learning and growing every day,” Jones said. “This team and the belief we have in each other, the belief we have in the team, we can play with anybody. We’re not scared of anybody.
“We’re going to give you our best game, no matter who it is.”
–Field Level Media