Like all good and memorable things, as the adage states, winning streaks, inevitably, must come to an end.
Behind 29 points from the aforementioned duo (including a dozen via Mayo in the second half), the Marquette Golden Eagles topped the Pirates of Seton Hall, 69-62, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center to tally its 19th consecutive home triumph.
Aside from holding serve yet again in the Brew City, No. 25 Marquette (13-3, 4-0), among the ilk of college basketball’s ranked for the first time this season, won their season-high sixth straight game and began 4-0 in league play for just the fourth time since the program began conference affiliations during the 1989-90 campaign.
Victory, however, would not come easy for the Golden Eagles.
Opening up a 12-4 advantage, the blue and gold, anchored by seven straight points from the 6’8”, 290-pound Gardner, never let the Pirates, whose injury-depleted roster boasted eight available players, to pull within six over the final 4:39 of the half en route to taking a 26-16 lead into intermission.
Upon the curtain being raised on the second half, the offense for the Pirates (12-6, 1-4), who shot 40.4 percent on the game, got some spring back in its step.
Beginning with a three pointer by Kyle Smyth, Seton Hall, who has now dropped four straight contests, strung together a 13-9 run over a five-minute span to cut the deficit to 35-29 with 13:34 left in regulation.
Marquette, who tallied 15 assists on 20 made field goals, stretched its lead back to nine points, 40-31, following a pair of field goals apiece from Junior Cadougan and Gardner.
Undeterred, the Pirates, who were out rebounded on the night, 32-29, scored 10 of the game’s ensuing 12 points—headlined by eight straight registered by Aaron Crosby—to make it a 40-39 affair and put Marquette on its heels.
Having endured close calls down the stretch and come out clean in each of their previous three games, the Golden Eagles, courtesy of Mayo’s deft shooting touch, though, would put the Pirates’ upset bid on ice.
With MU nursing a 46-41 lead following a layup by Eugene Teague with 8:03 to play, Mayo, who missed the first 10 games of the season upon being ruled academically ineligible, net a pair of three-point baskets and shot a perfect 4-of-4 at the charity stripe to put Marquette ahead 60-48 and, ultimately, the game out of reach.
The Pirates, who won seven straight prior to commencing their current losing streak on Jan. 5, meanwhile, were led by 15 points from Crosby, while Haralds Karlis chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds.
Marquette, winners of eight of their past nine games, returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati to meet up with Mick Cronin’s Bearcats within Fifth Third Arena at 6:00p.m. CST.