Tasked with winning two games in less than 24 hours, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles weren't up to the challenge tonight, as the marvelous Musketeers of Xavier showed why they're a trendy pick to do damage in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, walloping MU at the World's Most Famous Arena, 90-72.
After a Luke Fischer bunny knotted the score at 2-2, Marquette was content to bomb away with less-than-stellar results, and two quick fouls on Henry Ellenson put MU in the hole, 11-2. Top 50 Recruit Jajuan Johnson did his best to keep Marquette within striking distance, scoring 6 points and feeding Haanif Cheatham for a transition layup to bring MU within six points at 19-13. Ellenson shook off the foul trouble to score 8 points in the span of two minutes, but Cheatham couldn't get untracked and Duane Wilson sported a bagel in the scoring column, and a late 13-0 run from the X-Men put this one out of reach before halftime. At intermission, it was Xavier 46, Marquette 30.
There wasn't much reason to hope for a massive comeback, and even those faint hopes were doused when Jalen Reynolds' jumper gave the Musketeers a 20-point cushion at 53-33 just a couple of minutes into the second half. The only questions left to be answered were: would Marquette suffer a worse beatdown than last season's 84-49 dumptrucking at the hands of Villanova? (Answer: mercifully, no.) And would Ellenson break Dwyane Wade's season scoring mark by a first-year player? (Answer: needing 24 points to eclipse Wade's record, Ellenson ended the evening with 14 points on 4-9 shooting.) Oh, and: would Pat Driscoll whistle a double-technical foul? (To quote Michelle Elizabeth Tanner: duh.)
Johnson was once again stellar with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Cheatham managed 14 points (largely in garbage time, which, if we're being fair, was the entire second half). Trevon Bluiett couldn't miss all night and led the X-Men with 24 points (9-14 from the field, 5-8 from 3) and J.P. Macura added 12.
Marquette now sits at 20-13 on the year and waits to see if its name will be called for the NIT on Sunday, or if it'll have to open up the checkbook to join one of these newfangled pay-for-play tourneys.