For the first time since 2003 and the first time EVER in the regular season during the 100 years of program history, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles beat a #1 ranked team, defeating the Villanova Wildcats on Tuesday night, 74-72.
No, really. It happened.
Let’s make it even wilder: Marquette rallied from down 15 at the half and down 17 with 19 minutes left in the game to pull off the upset of the #1 team in the country and the reigning national champions. It happened! It really did!
Hell, Josh Hart, who was sidelined with two fouls for all but four minutes of the first half, hit a three pointer to make it 66-52 in Villanova’s favor with 7:08 to play. Marquette had put up an admirable fight to that point, but hey, they’re the three time Big East regular season champs. They know how to put this away, right?
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!
Katin Reinhardt answered back with a triple, and here come the Golden Eagles. A three from Duane Wilson made it a 10 point game with 5:14 to play, and the redshirt junior had a SIIIIIICK hesitation drive and layup to cut the lead to just six with 3:49 left. All of a sudden, this was a very real thing that was happening. Donte DiVincenzo missed a three, and Sam Hauser answered with his only #SammySplash of the game to cut the margin to a scant three points.
2:52 to play. Now what? Jalen Brunson scored to give the Wildcats some space and then! Reinhardt to answer, and then the grad transfer went KABOOM with the trey to pull it to a 70-all tie, the first tie of the entire game to that point.
We got a lot more ties over the next 1:04. Wilson collected a rebound and got clobbered in the head, and coldly canned two free throws for a two point MU lead, but Hart soared past everyone to tip in a missed Brunson three. Tie game, 35 seconds left, Marquette ball. Who came through again? Katin Reinhardt, of course. He drew a foul, and mimicked his teammate and icily drained both freebies for the 74-72 lead and to give him a team high 19 points.
There was still time left, though, and after a clock management snafu, Villanova had time for Brunson to charge down the floor and take it to the rack. It bounced free, it tipped around, but Sam Hauser locked it up for his sixth rebound of the night and that was that.
After allowing Villanova to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 80% in their first meeting in Philadelphia, the Golden Eagles locked down the Wildcats in Milwaukee, holding them to just 45% eFG%. VU attempted 34 threes on the night, but only six (18%) went down.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
Marquette is now 14-6 on the season and they’ve wrapped up the first eight games of the Big East schedule with a 5-3 record. Back in late December, I would have been thrilled with 3-5. Now MU enters the final 10 games of the league slate with almost nothing but winnable games in front of them, especially if they can bottle even 75% of their performance from this game.
Up Next: We’ll be back in the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon, when Providence comes to town. The Friars are 13-8 overall and 3-5 in league play with a home date against St. John’s on Wednesday night before they come to Milwaukee. If I remember correctly, Providence has never won in the Bradley Center.......