Mercifully, it's almost over.
The returns of Matt Carlino and Juan Anderson from injury didn't do anything to help YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles snap out of their month-long funk, and MU has now lost 10 of its last 11 games after getting its doors blown off by 23rd-ranked Butler, 73-52, tonight at the Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Carlino made his much-anticipated return to the floor following his three-week absence after suffering a concussion against Villanova on February 4, and Anderson was back, too, after missing Saturday's contest against 'Nova with a sprained ankle, but both were on the bench to start tonight's game as MU opted to start Jajuan Johnson and Sandy Cohen III.
Luke Fischer kept Marquette in the mix in the first half, tallying five points in the first seven minutes, but Butler's Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham were more than equal to the challenge: Jones scored 6 points in the opening six minutes, and then, in what became the theme of the night, Dunham went to work, blitzing a porous Marquette defense for 9 points in the span of 5 minutes. Three-pointers from Duane Wilson, Carlino, and Cohen trimmed the Bulldog lead to 31-28 with 3:14 left to play in the half, but a couple of buckets from Tyler Wideman staked Butler to a 37-30 advantage at the break.
Things were looking up for all of about 3 minutes in the second half, as baskets from Fischer and Cohen once again trimmed Marquette's deficit to 3, but then things got silly in a hurry. Dunham canned back-to-back triples, the second of which was possibly the most wide-open look in the history of college basketball, and then Kam Woods went to work in the paint with 8 quick points, and after Fischer picked up his fourth foul with 9:23 to play, Marquette's only threat on offense was gone and that was all she wrote.
MU had no answer for Dunham all game long -- pro tip: having a man within 15 feet of someone who's really, really good at shooting is generally a good idea -- as the Butler sniper finished the night with 22 points on 8-14 shooting and 4-6 from distance. Woods chipped in 14 points and 7 rebounds and Jones finished the night with 10 points, 4 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, and one-half of a double technical foul, because this is the Big East, after all, and if two guys are jawing at each other on the floor, calling off-setting technicals is the surefire way of restoring order.
Fisch paced Marquette with 17 points on 7-8 shooting to go with 3 blocks, and Du. Wilson and Carlino each notched 10. Anderson picked up two quick fouls after checking into the game in the first half and only got 6 minutes of run.
With the loss, Marquette is guaranteed its first sub-.500 campaign in 25 years and owns sole possession of the Big East basement with a 3-12 mark in conference. Butler improves to 20-8 and 10-5 and still generally annoys the hell out of me.