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The Day After and Dirty: DePaul 61, Marquette 58

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We weren't in the mood to talk about this yesterday. But we're guessing you weren't, either.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, New Year's Eve: the day to make the last of your foolish, self-destructive decisions for the calendar year. For you, that might mean your eighth shot of tequila, or your fifth (package of) cookies, your third slab of bacon, your final adjourned trip to the gym before 2015 hits. For YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles, that means a horrific, stomach-turning, ripped-from-the-jaws-of-victory loss to the moribund Blue Demons of DePaul.

Things started out alright for MU yesterday: the crowd (if you can call a collection of a few dozen people a crowd) was decidedly pro-Marquette, Karl Hess and Jim Burr and James Breeding were officiating different contests, and after trading punches for the first 13 minutes of the game, the Golden Eagles ripped off a 13-4 run to snap an 18-18 tie. There were layups aplenty, DePaul was content to shoot (and miss) jumpers, and the Brothers D. Wilson were having their way with the Blue Demon defense, as Derrick finished the half with 6 points and Duane tallied 9. If it wasn't for some early foul trouble for Luke Fischer, who had to sit for most of the half after getting two cheapies, things would've been looking pretty OK for Marquette, which went into the break with a 32-26 advantage.

And things were looking pretty OK for the first 10 minutes of the second half: DePaul was doing lots of DePaul things (missing dunks, dribbling the ball of their own legs, and so on), and suddenly, after a 3-pointer from De. Wilson and then 7 straight from Jajuan Johnson, MU found itself leading 49-36 with 11 minutes and change to play.

But a strange thing happened on the way to the win: for some reason, in the last 11 minutes of the game, Marquette stopped attacking the rim (0-8 on 3-point attempts), dropped more balls than Times Square with 8 turnovers (heyooooooo topical if nonsensical New Year's Eve humor), and seemed intent on trying to bleed the clock out ... which is, y'know, kind of hard to do when there's like a dozen minutes to play. DePaul seized the momentum with a 19-6 run to knot the game at 55, Jamee Crockett hit a back-breaking jumper to give the Demons a three-point cushion with 44 seconds left, and just like that, Marquette gagged away a game that should've been long over.

It's probably not fair (and probably not productive) to single out individuals for biting criticism when the team faceplants to the tune of a 25-9 run to end the game, which is why we didn't write this quick recap last night. (If we learned anything while earning our degree in English, it's that the only person who should write sad and drunk is Hemingway.) So we'll just leave these bullet points here, re: the last 11:46 of the game:

  • Luke Fischer: 2 points, 2 fouls, 4 turnovers.
  • Matt Carlino: 3 points (all on free throws), 0-5 from the field, 0-4 on 3-point attempts, 2 fouls. And a lot of aimless dribbling.
  • Derrick Wilson: 0 points, 0-1 from the field, 1 turnover, 3 fouls.
  • Duane Wilson: 0 points, 0-1 from the field, 1 turnover.
Given those numbers, not an entirely surprising result. And, if we're being totally honest, maybe we shouldn't have tried to read so much into the recent 4-0 stretch that featured two wins over dumpster-fire programs, a come-from-behind win against a team that doesn't even have a mascot, and a win over Arizona State when the Sun Devils played about as bad as they possibly can and still only lost by 7. Marquette, it turns out, is still very much a work in progress with a coach who's very much learning on the fly.

If you're interested in silver linings, there probably aren't many to take from this game. The best thing you can say, I guess, is that this puts an early end to the very silly "if Marquette gets 10 wins in conference, they've got a shot at an NCAA bid" talk.

Until Saturday, then, this is your "get bent, 2014" thread.