NEWARK — The numbers didn’t add up for Marquette coach Buzz Williams. Two of his best shooters had an off night and his opponent, Seton Hall, sank 53 percent of its shots from the floor.
“Looking at the numbers, do you anticipate that we’re going to win with Jake (Thomas) and Todd (Mayo) going 3 of 13 and the other team is 10 of 21 from the 3-point line?” Williams asked. “No. No.”
One player, Jamil Wilson, made all those numbers irrelevant as he scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in powering Marquette past Seton Hall, 77-66 on Tuesday night.
“I thought this was the best game Jamil played here, period,” Williams said. “He was in the right mind space. I thought he was incredible defensively. He started really good, which helps our team. But I thought he was in a really good groove.”
Wilson scored 14 of his points in the first 7 minutes of the game and wound up sinking 8 of 14 shots from the floor, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. He also made all five of his foul shots.
“We had a good shoot-around and I got in a groove early,” Wilson said. “It carried over from my shoot-around and I just rode the wave. At the end of your playing career, they’re going to judge you on a letter not a number; whether you’re a winner or a loser. We won, that’s all that matters.”
Davante Gardner added 16 points and six boards for Marquette (14-10, 6-5 Big East), which sank 30 of 34 free throws and held a 32-19 advantage on the glass. The Golden Eagles had 12 offensive boards and outscored Seton Hall, 14-2, on second-chance shots.
“Toward the end of the game, they got three to four (offensive) rebounds and ended up on the line,” Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin said. “They didn’t miss too many free throws. Definitely the rebounding was the difference.”
Seton Hall (13-11, 4-7) made just 8 of 14 free throws. Brian Oliver led the Pirates with 15 points while Sterling Gibbs collected 12 points, four rebounds and six assists. Seton Hall also received 12 points from Brandon Mobley and 10 from Patrik Auda.
Wilson’s three-point play, set up by a behind-the-back pass from Todd Mayo, highlighted an 11-0 run that staked the Golden Eagles to a 61-56 lead with 5:08 left. Gardner later banked in a shot and hit the bonus free throw to give Marquette a 67-61 lead with 3:18 showing.
“Todd (Mayo) is spontaneous,” Wilson said. “Playing with him, you kind of get used to the idea that anything can happen.”
Marquette defeated Seton Hall 67-66 on Jan. 11 and swept the home-and-home series for the second straight year. The Golden Eagles have won 13 of 15 overall in the series.
Two 3-point baskets by Oliver keyed an 8-0 spurt that handed Seton Hall its biggest lead of the game, 49-44, with 14:13 left in the second half. Marquette answered with six straight free throws for a 50-49 edge.
Oliver then hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game and Edwin converted a fast-break layup before Auda sank two fouls for a 56-50 Seton Hall edge.
In the first half, Wilson hit all four of his 3-point attempts and scored 14 points in the first 7 minutes of the game when Marquette opened to an 18-7 lead.
The Golden Eagles led by as many as 12 in the first half before Seton Hall put together a 19-8 run to close out the half.
Gibbs hit a 3-pointer, followed by two straight from behind the arc by Mobley to highlight the late burst for the Pirates that cut the deficit to 34-33 heading into the break.