NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -After playing three straight overtime games, Marquette was breathing a sigh of relief on Sunday.
Not only did the Golden Eagles win all three, they may also have punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament.
Lazar Hayward scored 23 points and Marquette found overtime very comfortable again, posting a 84-83 decision over Seton Hall on Sunday.
``All we were thinking was here we go again,' Hayward said after Marquette (19-9, 10-6 Big East) won for the eighth time in nine games. ``It was the third game, the third time we went to overtime and all on the road. But now it's just like a normal feeling for us. We're not even nervous. We can say we are tough.'
And they are getting contributions from a lot of people.
All five starters reached double figures with Jimmy Butler getting five of his 13 points in the extra session and David Cubillan, who hit a 3-pointer to start the overtime, and Maurice Acker adding four apiece.
``It's been a draining week, playing three games on the road, all going to overtime, playing 135 minutes of one-possession basketball,' Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. ``Our kids compete real hard. We tied a knot at the end of the rope and hoped to hang on.'
The Golden Eagles needed to hang on as Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell got over a sore back and hit three 3-pointers in the final 1:21 to get the Pirates (16-11, 7-9) in position to tie the game.
However, his game-tying 3-point attempt in the final seconds, hit off the backboard, went halfway down and rolled out. Herb Pope put in the rebound with less than a second left.
``I threw it up, it felt good, went off the backboard, rolled halfway down and just came out,' said Hazell, whose back stiffened in the pre-game warmup and didn't get loose until the second half when he scored all 19 of his points. ``It was tough luck.'
It was the 13th time this season Marquette was involved in a game that was decided by five points or fewer. Their record is 6-7 in those games, but the Golden Eagles have won the past five.
Marquette beat Cincinnati in OT last weekend and followed that with an overtime win over St. John's on Wednesday. The only other time the Golden Eagles have played three consecutive overtime games was in 1981-82 (1-2).
The NCAA record for consecutive overtime games is four. Jacksonville went 3-1 in 1981-82, Dayton was 1-3 in 1987-88.
Marquette never trailed in the overtime as Cubillan hit a 3-pointer to get things going and Hayward, who hit his first four 3-pointers to start the game, added two free throws for a 74-69 lead.
``We were down going into overtime, but we got up right away and that shot gave us momentum,' said Cubillan, who played his high school basketball at nearby St. Benedict's Prep. ``It was a good shot. I knew it was big.'
The lead reached 78-71 when Butler added two more free throws with 1:42 to play in the extra session.
Hazell then got hot and hit three long-range shots, the last one turning into a four-point play when he was fouled by Darius Johnson-Odom with 25.2 seconds left, cutting the lead to 82-81.
Butler made the second of two free throws with 22.1 seconds left to stretch the lead to two points and Cubillan made the first of two free throws with 11 seconds left after Hazell missed another 3-pointer.
Hazell then barely missed tying the game as the Pirates' six-game winning streak at home was snapped.
``It was kind of miraculous what he did to come back from that and make three 3s in overtime and had the last shot halfway down to tie it,' Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. ``It was a little bit of a prayer.'
Cubillan and Johnson-Odom finished with 16 points for Marquette, which kept its hopes alive for a fourth-place finish in the league and a double bye in the conference tournament.
Jeff Robinson had a career-high 25 points for Seton Hall and Jordan Theodore added 18, making all four of his 3-pointers in the second half.
There were seven ties and four lead changes in the second half with Pirates senior guard Eugene Harvey forcing the final tie with 28.9 seconds left in regulation by hitting two free throws.
Hayward missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have given Marquette the win in regulation.
The Associated Press News Service
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