Lightning struck twice on Thursday night in Pennsylvania. First, Matt McIver and John LoCascio scored eight seconds apart less than a minute into the fourth quarter to give Villanova a 9-6 lead. Shortly thereafter, actual lightning struck in the area, causing a 74 minute delay in the game.
When play resumed, the Golden Eagles had 11 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the game. Marquette had outscored Villanova 4-1 in the third quarter to turn a 6-2 halftime deficit into a 7-6 game with 15 minutes to play, including a goal from Blaine Fleming with just seven seconds left in the third. Villanova's defensive end led by John LoCascio, the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year got Marquette to create more turnovers (five) than shots (three) over the remainder of the game, and the Golden Eagles never really had a chance to cut into the gap.
The final horn sounded without the scoreboard changing after the weather delay, and Marquette exited their first every postseason after just one game. No one wants to end the season on a loss, but that's the risk you accept when you qualify for postseason play.
Six different Golden Eagles scored goals, with Conor Gately and Bryan Badolato both adding assists to lead MU in points for the game with two each. Jimmy Danaher made at least two saves in every quarter to finish with 10 for the game. Villanova was led by two goals from Devin McNamara.
#3 seed Villanova advances to the Big East Championship game, where they will take on #1 seed and regular season champion Denver. That game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at 3:30pm Central on Saturday.
STAT WATCH: Marquette picked a bad day to be lousy at the X. MU won just five of 19 restarts, with Paul Riportella going 3-16 by his lonesome. That's a team success rate of just 26.3%, and Marquette was lousy relative to the rest of the country at 42.9% last year.
Marquette also committed 19 turnovers in the game, which is a very high number for them this season. Luckily (at least from a Stat Watch perspective), 10 of them were forced by Villanova, leaving 9 unforced mistakes. Combine that with a high paced game of 33 offensive chances for the Golden Eagles, and you get a rate of 27.3 unforced turnovers per 100 chances. Not much better than last year's 27.5/100, but considering the lousy day overall at taking care of the ball, you take the upsides where you can get them.
Up Next: Not only is Marquette's season over with a final record of 6-10, but so are the careers of Marquette's first senior class. The outstanding inaugural campaign and this stellar second year outing wouldn't have been possible with the foundation laid down by MU's most experienced players. We have to extend a massive THANK YOU to Bryan Badolato, Matt Melnyk, Tyler Melnyk, Andrew Smistad, Jerry Nobile, Cullen Cassidy, and JJ Sagl, plus graduating redshirt juniors Ben Dvorak and James Raveret. This program has defied expectations for a first and second year squad and it's because of those nine men. The past two seasons are a launching pad for even more success in the future, and without those guys, it wouldn't be possible.