Are you getting frustrated with reading, game after game, that YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles gave a valiant effort, only to be undone by self-inflicted wounds in the second half? Because I know I'm getting frustrated with having to write it over and over. But we're both going to have to suffer through another "shoulda woulda coulda" recap, because Marquette, despite a ferocious defensive effort in the opening 20 minutes, once again didn't have enough to get over the hump and dropped a 62-58 decision to Xavier in Cincinnati yesterday.
The first half featured perhaps MU's most impressive defensive effort of the year, as the smorgasbord of Golden Eagle zones completely flummoxed the X-Men. Lazy and ill-conceived passes from Xavier and active hands from MU added up to a whopping nine (!!) steals for Marquette in the first half, and Matt Carlino picked up where he left off against Creighton, tallying 10 points (including two 3-pointers) in the first half. And when Derrick Wilson hit a pretty floater in the lane in the half's final minute, Marquette was holding a 31-22 lead -- though, for the second straight game, you got the feeling that the advantage should have been even larger, given how poorly Xavier played.
And then the snowball started rolling in the second half, and it never stopped. Suddenly Marquette was the team that was careless with the rock, as Carlino and Derrick Wilson each coughed up the ball twice and Juan Anderson gave it up once in the first 5 minutes, and after Myles Davis (no relation) hit 3 free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, Marquette's lead had dwindled to two with 14 minutes to go. Carlino did his best to keep MU in the lead, canning four triples in the next 10 minutes of game action, but Xavier had solved Marquette's zone and Davis and Remy Abell were bombing away with reckless abandon, hitting (between them) seven 3s in the second half. The Musketeers inevitably grabbed the lead with 7 minutes to play on an Abell 3-pointer, and though Carlino twice knotted the game -- at 53-53, and at 56-56 -- in the last 4 minutes, Marquette let Myles Davis get free for two more 3-pointers, and X had a one-point cushion with a minute to play.
A bad pass from Dee Davis gave Marquette the ball with 50 seconds left, and with seemingly every available Musketeer defender swarming him, Carlino somehow found Luke Fischer free underneath the basket for what would've been the go-ahead layup with 15 seconds left. But Fischer couldn't convert, putting the gravy on another forgettable performance for the big man (7 points, just 4 shots attempted, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers), and Trevon Blueitt iced away the game from the line.
As was the case on Wednesday, Carlino and Duane Wilson were Marquette's only options on offense, as Carlino put up another impressive showing with 27 points (6-9 from 3-point range) and Du. Wilson tossed in 12. But with 18 total turnovers (five from Carlino, four from Anderson, and a shocking three from Derrick Wilson), no option in the post -- and we're required, at this point, to once again lament what could've been for Steve Taylor, Jr., who's sadly glued to the ground like a post-Achilles-tear Patrick Ewing at this point -- and only seven available players, after Jajuan Johnson got a DNP-Coach's Decision for an apparently crappy week of practice, you're not going to win very often in the Big East, especially on the road.
With the loss, Marquette drops to 10-7 on the year and 2-3 in the conference, while Xavier improves its curious resume to 12-6 and 3-3.
Until we see you at the Garden on Wednesday, then, this is your lather-rinse-repeat dejection thread.