Big East: Marquette, Notre Dame advance
NEW YORK -- Few teams can boast the experience Marquette has in close games in the closing seconds -- 11 of the Golden Eagles' 18 Big East games were decided by three points or less.
So when 13th-seeded St. John's turned a 14-point deficit into the lead on Marquette in the final two minutes, that experience helped the Golden Eagles avoid the upset and pull off a 57-55 win in the second round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.
"We're starting to learn how to play in close games," said forward Lazar Hayward, who had game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds and hit two key free throws with 35 seconds left. "We definitely understand that the value of our possessions is very, very vital to us."
St. John's (17-15) helped Marquette by missing two free throws with the game tied and 2:24 left -- the biggest shot by a 3-pointer by David Cubillan with 1:08 to play. Marquette advances to play fourth-seeded Villanova, which handed the Golden Eagles a pair of losses in January, each by just two points.
"We'll have our hands full," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "They haven't played since Saturday, and you just saw how hard we had to play just to escape."
NOTRE DAME 68, SETON HALL 56: Center Luke Harangody, still recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him five games, had 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench in the first half, sparking the Fighting Irish to an easy win in a game some saw as an elimination game for the NCAA Tournament.
"How about this being promoted as a play-in game? Come on. For us? Come on," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "You know what, right now nobody is talking about Seton Hall. Just give it a few days. Keep Seton Hall on the board. ... It would have been very hard to keep us out before tonight with what we have."
Notre Dame (22-10) advances to face second-seeded Pittsburgh in today's quarterfinal, while Seton Hall (19-12) is left to find out where they'll play their postseason. Coach Bobby Gonzalez suggested his team should be in the same conversation as Notre Dame.
"For some reason, there's all these gurus and experts that listen to what everybody else says," Gonzalez said. "... Coming into tonight, our RPI was higher than Notre Dame. We both have three wins against the top 50. And we beat them head-to-head. So I'm not quite sure where they got that from on the resume and who they thought had a better profile."
Harangody finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Tory Jackson had 13 points and six assists for the Irish. Jeremy Hazell led Seton Hall with 15 points, but went 1-for-9 on 3-pointers, part of a 2-for-16 night for the Pirates, who had scored 109 points the previous night in a win against Providence.