No one is going to confuse the 46 turnover epic that was Thursday night’s contest between Marquette Golden Eagles and St. John’s for the best basketball game ever played.
Thankfully, the Golden Eagles overcame 27 turnovers of their own and letting the Red Storm rally from down 13 to prevail in overtime, 74-72. Marquette moves to 1-0 and a share of the Big East lead on the opening night of league play, while St. John’s stumbles to 0-1 to start the slate.
That’s not a typo, by the way. The two teams committed a combined 46 turnovers in a 45 minute game. That sucks out loud, and Marquette contributing 27 to the pile meant that they coughed it up on a full 31% of their possessions in the game. And yet, even with that being the case, they built themselves a 13 point lead with 5:43 left to play in the third quarter. That margin turned out to be the exact number that St. John’s would be unable to overcome. While the Red Storm finally tied the game at 67 with 1:46 left in the game, that would end up being just one of two times that the visiting squad evened the score after that 13 point advantage for the home team. They would pull it off again with 1:56 left to play in overtime when Amani Wilborn committed a poorly thought out foul on a SJU fast break that gave Imani Littleton an old fashioned three-point play to knot things at 72.
Marquette responded with their most reliable play: Have Allazia Blockton draw a foul. The junior did just that on the next possession, and calmly knocked down two free throws, giving her 38 makes on 41 tries (92.7%) this season. Following an Erika Davenport steal, Marquette went back to the well, but this time the Johnnies were prepared, and drew the charge from Blockton. SJU ball, 71 seconds left.
They responded with a three-point attempt from Akina Wellere, who missed her fifth and final long range attempt of the game. Andrayah Adams came up with the offensive rebound, well, technically. As it turns out, St. John’s may have lost this game because Adams fell down hauling it in.... and her fingertip fell on the out of bounds line while she was in contact with the ball. Not her hand. Not her arm. Not her finger. Just the very tip of her finger was over the line. Marquette ball.
The drama was not over, though. After Danielle King missed a quality try at a jumper, SJU had one final real chance to tie or take the lead. The MU defense crackled with intensity and forced the worst shot in basketball from Adams: A two-pointer with her heels on the three-point line. It missed, Davenport grabbed the carom, and ultimately Natisha Hiedeman went to the line to ice the game.
EXCEPT SHE DIDN’T. The Green Bay native has struggled from the line this season, and this was no different. The upside of her two misses, I suppose, is that there was just 3.3 seconds remaining when she went to the line, so all SJU could do is hoist a prayer from 50 feet that missed about four feet short.
Finally, it was over, and the Golden Eagles could high five in victory. Ugly, hard fought victory, but victory nonetheless.
Allazia Blockton led all scorers with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting and a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. She also added a ho-hum seven rebounds and three assists to her night. Free throw misery aside, Hiedeman was pretty great, going for 14 points and nine rebounds. St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella shook up his starting lineup in this game, including parking Maya Singleton on the bench for the entire first half. This ended up with Alisha Kebbe leading the visitors in scoring with 16.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FS2?
Up Next: The Golden Eagles return to the Al McGuire Center court on Saturday evening when they will host Seton Hall. The Pirates (8-4, 0-1) are coming off of an 89-66 loss while visiting DePaul in their league opener on Thursday night.