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Queen City Business Trip: Marquette 95, Xavier 84

Hey, guess who is now the highest scoring visitor ever in Cintas Center history?

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Five Golden Eagles scored in double figures on Wednesday night as Marquette Golden Eagles broke the all-time visitor’s scoring record at the Cintas Center on their way to a 95-84 victory over Xavier Musketeers.

The Golden Eagles are now 18-11 on the season and 9-8 in Big East play. With the win, MU clinched a top six finish in the Big East and will begin play in the Big East tournament on Thursday in the quarterfinal round. This extends Marquette’s streak of reaching at least the Big East tournament quarterfinals, something that they have done every year as a member of the conference, both before and after The Reformation.

We could say a lot of things about what happened in this game. We could talk about how Marquette shot 12-of-21 from deep. We could talk about how they didn’t have an offensive rebound until there was 3:43 left in the game..... and then they got three in 90 seconds to help ice the game. We could talk about how Marquette put Xavier into the double bonus with 11:02 left in the game and how it had absolutely zero impact on how the game turned out.

I think the biggest thing that we have to talk about is how at one point in the second half, Marquette connected on eleven - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, ELEVEN - straight field goal attempts. It covered a stretch from the 14:18 mark, when Luke Fischer scored to put Marquette up 54-43, down to the 6:01 mark when Andrew Rowsey missed with Marquette leading 81-66. Now, to be fair, it’s not like the world ended for Xavier in this more than eight minute long run. Marquette only pushed the lead out six more points at most, to 17, and it was 15 when the streak was snapped. But while Marquette didn’t turn the lights out by going up 30 on this run (let’s face it, the defense isn’t good enough to do that), what it did do was effectively suffocate Xavier’s chances of winning. Eight long minutes burned off the clock while the Musketeers had no hope of stopping the Golden Eagles, and even when they finally got Rowsey to miss a shot, Xavier immediately made an incredibly lazy pass allowing Jajuan Johnson to easily step in front of it, and slam it home to push the lead back to 17.

Sure, the lead dipped back down to the 10 point mark repeatedly in the final two minutes. The two teams insisted on committing a metric ton of fouls going both ways in the last 120 seconds, so while Xavier made the game a little closer than it was for a while, the game was also never really in doubt as Marquette cleanly and carefully dodged XU’s press attempts late in the game.

Andrew Rowsey had 20 for Marquette, tying for the game high with Xavier’s J.P. Macura. The difference here is that Rowsey had 20 on just eight shots, while it took Macura 17 field goal attempts to get his 20 points. Jajuan Johnson popped off the bench for 19, and Katin Reinhardt had a ruthlessly efficient 17 on 7-of-8 shooting. Sam Hauser (12) and Markus Howard (15) rounded out the list of double digit scorers, while Hauser grabbed a team high six rebounds, too.

How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and Yes, it begins with Rowsey draining a trey from the point of the X at center court.....

Up Next: One final regular season game remains and it will be a critical one in terms of seeding the Big East tournament. Creighton comes to the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon, with the Bluejays (10-7) sitting one game up in the standings from the three-pack of teams (Marquette/Providence/Seton Hall) all tied at 9-8. Whether MU wins or loses will end up determining where a lot of teams are eventually seeded.