Stop me if you've heard this one before: YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles do everything they can to give themselves a chance to steal a precious conference road win, only to have it slip through their fingers down the stretch. Oh... you have heard that before? Well, that would make sense, since Wednesday's game against St. John's in NYC played out much the same as all of MU's previous three Big East road games. And just like those previous contests, the good guys came up just short and boarded the plane* with a loss
* - Yes, we know they didn't take a plan home from Chicago. They were forced to walk as punishment for losing to DePaul. We are aware.
The first half was something between an eyesore and a crime against humanity. However you want to classify it, it wasn't pretty. Neither team could find a way to put the ball in the basket with any regularity. Paced by D'Angelo Harrison's torrid 1-12 first half shooting performance, the Johnnies were content to bomb away from outside the arc, with minimal success. Meanwhile, Marquette was attempting to attack the basket and having their shots repeatedly rejected by the longer Red Storm defenders. Both teams shot around 30%, and it was one of the uglier halves of basketball that you will ever witness. The lone bright spot was Jajuan Johnson finding his way off the bench, and down the lane, for a monster dunk over Chris Obekpa.
The second half was another 2-man show for Marquette. As in the Xavier and Creighton games, one of those two guys was Matt Carlino. After Luke Fischer opened the scoring with an old fashioned 3-point play, Carlino caught fire. He drained four triples in six trips, and spurred a 15-6 run that helped Marquette open up an 8-point lead with 13:00 to play. Carlino's running mate in this one was none other than Steve Taylor. Yes, THAT Steve Taylor. After scoring just 9 points in the previous five Big East games, Steve looked as assertive as he has all season and tallied 13 points and nine rebounds - four on the offensive end.
But the MU momentum was short-lived. A Rysheed Jordan trey stemmed the tide and allowed St. John's to get their feet back under them. They ratcheted up the defense on Carlino by sticking the much taller Sir'Dominic Pointer on him, and as quickly as he had heated up, Carlino cooled off and he wouldn't score until he hit two free throws with 11 seconds left in the game. The game remained tight, but a Harrison 3-pointer with 4:49 to play put St. John's back into the lead for good. Carlino had a heave at the buzzer that nearly went to force overtime, but in the end it was the Red Storm getting their first home win of the Big East season and the Golden Eagles going home bummin'. Yet another almost.
So the road is still unkind, but MU gets to come home this weekend and try to exact some revenge on the now conference leading Georgetown Hoyas.
So until tomorrow, this is your oh-so-familiar dejection thread.