PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Marquette's schizophrenic play on the road continued Tuesday night, this time against a lower echelon Big East Conference opponent.
Trailing the majority of the game, the No. 15 Golden Eagles survived a major scare from a scrappy Rutgers (13-15, 4-13) team and came away with a 60-54 decision at the Rutgers Athletic Center before an announced crowd of 5,021.
Marquette (22-7, 13-4) is 500 on the road in the Big East at 4-4 and 4-6 overall away from the Bradley Center, where it has claimed 25 straight wins.
Marquette didn't grab the lead for good until there was only 3:00 left to play. Jamil Wilson's 3-pointer from the top of the key snapped a 52-52 tie. It was Marquette's first lead since it opened the night 2-0.
Jerome Seagears countered with a basket for Rutgers to make it 55-54 with 2:35 to go, before Marquette iced it with free throws.
Junior Cadougan hit one from the stripe to make it 56-54 with 1:31 to go, followed by two from Vander Blue at 13.9 and a pair from the line by Davante Gardner at 3 seconds to cap off the 10-2 run.
Rutgers had ample chances down the stretch but failed to convert from the line. Dane Miller missed two free throws with 1:08 to play that would have tied it at 56-56 for the Scarlet Knights.
A missed jumper by Vander Blue on Marquette's next possession provided Rutgers with another chance to tie, but Seagears turned the ball over near midcourt with 14 seconds to play.
Rutgers didn't score a basket during the final 2:35 of the game. The Scarlet Knights are 1-8 against ranked opponents and 6-5 in games decided by six points or less this season.
"There are a lot of disappointed, hurt individuals in that locker room," said Rutgers coach Mike Rice. "I told them that they deserved to be happy for how hard they've worked without any results, how hard they keep practicing for each other and the staff.
"I look out there sometimes in practice and you get so excited because we're so close in certain aspects. This team won't quit. I give them a lot of credit for that. After a long, hard season, they keep at it."
Blue led Marquette with 22 points. Rutgers, which has lost five straight, received 11 points from Myles Mack and 10 points from Seagears.
"We kept throwing punches," Blue said. "It's especially tough to win a game like this on the road in the Big East. To win a road game you have to be perfect, you don't get calls, especially against a team not playing for anything.
"We wanted to get to the free throw line. We didn't do that in the first half."
Marquette failed to nail any of its four free throw attempts in the first half, but rebounded by sinking 12 of 16 in the second half.
With just one game left in the regular season, a trip to New York to face St. John's on Saturday, the Golden Eagles nearly passed up a golden opportunity for a chance at its first Big East crown. Marquette is 13-4 in the conference, tied for second with Louisville behind Georgetown (13-3).
"It's hard to win on the road," said Marquette coach Buzz Williams, "maybe more so than any other league. Records have no bearing. You have to earn the right to win."
Rutgers put together one of its finest halves of the season, taking a 31-21 lead into intermission. The Scarlet Knights received scoring from two unlikely sources in Seagears and Derrick Randall, who dropped in six points apiece.
Seagears averaged 5.9 points on the season and Randall got just 1.9 points off the bench in limited time.
Marquette closed to within 16-13 on a 3-pointer from Steve Taylor Jr. midway through the half before Rutgers went on a 10-4 burst to increase the lead to 26-17. Randall scored four in the run.
Taylor tossed in seven points for Marquette before leaving the game midway through the half, grabbing his knee. He returned later in the half.
Rutgers shot 58 percent (14 of 24) from the floor, while Marquette was just 10-of-28 (35.7%).
Marquette lacked rhythm in the first half, playing in front of a half-empty building after defeating Notre Dame, 72-64, before 19,093 at the Bradley Center on Saturday -- the second largest crowd to see a college basketball game in Wisconsin.
"For them (Rutgers), I know it was an important game," Williams said. "I think Rutgers is talented. They play hard defensively. I thought for sure Rutgers dominated at both ends of the floor."
After scoring 16 points against Notre Dame, Marquette center Chris Otule was scoreless in 22 minutes against Rutgers.