As it turns out, this barrel apparently goes a bit deeper.
Unable to overcome a dreadful first-half performance, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are now the not-so-proud owners of a six-game losing streak after getting walloped by the 7th-ranked Wildcats of Villanova tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, 70-52.
I think I've written about 18 of these recaps so far this year, and I believe I've officially run out of ways to say "I don't know if it's possible to play competitive basketball worse than Marquette did that half." And yet I'm obliged to say it again in reference to the first-half carnage of tonight's contest, which saw Marquette shoot 23% from the field (including an astounding 14% on two-point attempts), turn the ball over 11 times, commit 10 fouls, and cede 14 offensive rebounds.
Perhaps the most amazing part of the first half was that Marquette was only down 36-19 at intermission, as Villanova played as horribly as (if not worse than) MU in the first 10 minutes of the game. The 'Cats turned the ball over 5 times before the first media timeout and, after Darrun Hilliard hit a jumper to get 'Nova on the board, missed their next nine attempts from the floor before Josh Hart's layup gave VU its first lead at 7-6 with 11:34 to go in the half.
From there, 'Nova turned on the jets, ripping off a 12-0 run to take a double-digit lead at 24-12, then ending the half on a 12-4 spurt before Matt Carlino's 3-pointer drew Marquette within 17 at the break. Carlino, of course, led Marquette with 9 points, while Hilliard paced Villanova with 9 and Ryan Arcidiacono added 8.
The second half looked promising for all of about 90 seconds, as Luke Fischer hit a layup and Juan Anderson tipped in Carlino's miss to trim the lead to 36-24. But the 'Cats promptly responded with an 14-2 haymaker (fueled by 4 points from Arcidiacono, 4 points from JayVaughn Pinkston, and 4 points from Hart) to stretch the margin to 50-26 with 12 minutes to play, and it was all academic from there. Duane Wilson tallied 6 points in garbage time, Sandy Cohen III tossed in 5, and Jajuan Johnson notched 7 -- including his second 3-pointer of the game, which boosted his 3-point shooting percentage to 19% on the year -- but Marquette would get no closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Johnson had a team-high 10 for Marquette, and Carlino finished with 9 (after a goose-egg in the second half) and 9 boards to go along with four turnovers and four fouls. Arcidiacono had 18 to lead the five Villanova players who finished in double figures; Hilliard had a quiet 12, Hart finished with 11, and Phil Booth and Pinkston each had 10.
With the loss, Marquette sits at 10-12 on the season and 2-8 in conference, and, call me a glass-half-empty guy if you must, but I'm kinda starting to think we might not make the Tournament this year.
Until we see you Saturday in the Garden State, then, this is your post-game dejection thread.