NEWARK, NJ – Seton Hall’s Brandon Mobley had a perplexed look on his face in the locker room following the Pirates’ 77-66 loss to Marquette.
The Pirates had plenty of opportunities on Tuesday night at The Rock. Ahead by six points midway through the second half, Seton Hall’s offense stalled out right as the Golden Eagles got hot, an all-to-frequent event for the Pirates over the last five home games.
Neither him or head coach Kevin Willard have been able to put a finger on why the Hall has struggled so mightily at the Prudential Center, yet have won road games at Providence, Georgetown and Xavier.
Though he can’t pinpoint an exact reason for the team’s home struggle, there is a different type expectation and pressure away from South Orange.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Mobley said. “If I knew, I would have something, but I don’t know. Playing at home our expectations are so much higher, versus playing on the road. We know we’re all we got, but at home you have all the fans and everything, everybody wants to support you.”
The sparse crowd of 6,342 saw the Pirates struggle early in the game, falling behind by 12 points at the midway point of the opening half. Jamil Wilson led the charge for Marquette, scoring 16 of his game-high 25 points in the opening 20 minutes.
However, the Pirates made a late push to take a late lead in the first, before trailing by one at the break.
Seton Hall took the lead in the early stages of the second half, however, strong offensive rebounding added second chance opportunities that Marquette took advantage of.
With the Hall ahead 56-50 at the 9-minute mark, Marquette used their second and third efforts to go on an 11-0 run and take the lead and the game away from the Hall. On 12 offensive rebounds, the Golden Eagles tallied 14 second-chance points.
“I think they realized the way they were going to score was to go get it and they did,” Willard said. “I thought it started with Todd Mayo’s [second chance layup]. Wilson took a tough shot, we were up six, and Mayo went in there got the rebound got fouled, and got to the free throw line.”
This was the Hall’s sixth loss at home, including their fourth in their last five games at the Prudential Center, a stat that has Willard questioning why the Pirates roller coaster-type play.
“It’s disappointing on many levels,” Willard said. “We played six of our first 10 on the road, we finally come home and have three in a row, obviously three tough games, but to be able to come home and be on your home court and have a chance. This group has not seized the opportunities they’ve had and I don’t think they’ve understood their opportunities.”
One thing is apparent for the Pirates, and Mobley was very adamant about in Seton Hall’s secondary locker room, he said: “I wish we can play all of our games on the road.”