Matt Carlino shot the ball like he didn’t want his college basketball career to come to an end and he had plenty of help as the Marquette Golden Eagles blasted the Seton Hall Pirates 78-56 in the first round of the Big East tournament on Wednesday night.
The Golden Eagles had one of their best shooting performances of the season by making 29-of-51 shots from the floor (56.9 percent), including 13-of-22 from beyond the 3-point arc (59.1 percent) for their second win in as many games for after six straight losses.
Just days after being named All-Big East second team, Carlino showed why he deserved the recognition. He led the way for Marquette with 26 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor, including an 8-for-12 shooting performance from 3-point land to go along with six rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes of play. He got the ball rolling in the first half with nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range as Marquette took a 35-22 lead. He added 17 points in the second half thanks to five more threes on seven attempts as well as another jumper.
Luke Fischer and Duane Wilson also had solid offensive showings in the victory. Fischer had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor with seven rebounds and four blocks while Wilson totaled 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-5 from distance with three rebounds and three assists. Steve Taylor Jr. added 10 points and four rebounds while Derrick Wilson ran the show to perfection with 14 assists to go along with seven points, four rebounds and three steals.
Isaiah Whitehead led the way for Seton Hall with 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field with five assists, four rebounds and four blocks. Angel Delgado added nine points and seven rebounds while Desi Rodriguez registered nine points on 3-for-3 shooting with four rebounds off the bench. Khadeen Carrington chipped in with nine points of his own, but shot just 3-for-9 from the floor while leading scorer and All-Big East second team honoree Sterling Gibbs managed just six points on 1-for-8 shooting from the floor, including 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Up next for Carlino and the Golden Eagles is another matchup with No. 4 Villanova on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The Wildcats and Golden Eagles have met two times so far this season with Villanova winning both by scores of 70-52 in Philadelphia and 87-76 in Milwaukee two weeks later.
The Wildcats are 29-2 on the season including 16-2 in Big East play, with their only losses coming at Seton Hall and at Georgetown. They are led by Big East Co-Player of the Year Ryan Arcidiacono who is averaging 10.7 points, 3.6 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Darrun Hilliard II is the leading scorer on the team with 14.2 points a night to go along with 3.2 rebounds, two assists and 1.8 steals.