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Grand Theft Basketball: #21 Marquette 106, Creighton 104 (OT)

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Marquette stole a win. Period. Full stop.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After trailing by 13 in the first half and letting a one point deficit drift back up to 10 midway through the second half, Marquette found themselves with the ball down three with 17 seconds to play. Seems obvious, hold for the final shot, force overtime.

Nope.

Markus Howard attacked the rim and got his shot blocked. Creighton ball. MU fouled, the lead ballooned to five with eight seconds left. Sam Hauser missed a nearly pointless prayer of a three, Joseph Chartouny reeled in the miss and put it in to pointlessly cut the lead to three.

Except............

Well.............

With 0.8 seconds remaining, Creighton threw the ball deep to avoid Marquette throwing in a prayer.... and it went over everyone and out of bounds. Marquette ball. Under their own hoop.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sam Hauser.

The elder Hauser brother used every single one of those eight-tenths of a second to release a triple and force overtime.

And then Markus Howard happened.

The junior guard from Arizona said “OH HELL NAW” and scored Marquette’s first 11 points of the extra session, propelling the Golden Eagles to a six point lead with 2:36 remaining. Things got weird and dumb from there, including what appeared to be the referees missing 1) Howard getting fouled to lose control of the ball and 2) a Creighton player clearly throwing the ball down on the endline and thus out of bounds.

At the end of the day, it was Joseph Chartouny, he of the seemingly meaningless bucket with 0.8 to go, icing the game with a pair of freebies to put Marquette up by four late in overtime. It could have been a little bit spacier if Theo John had knocked down his freebies after ripping away a missed Ty-Shon Alexander shot a few seconds previous, but no matter.

Marquette wins, Marquette wins, holy cow, Marquette wins.

Now everyone get right on the bus, still in uniform, go straight to the airport, and fly home as fast as the plane will allow before the Omaha police realize that the Golden Eagles flat out stole a game away from the Bluejays for their sixth straight victory in the series and their 10th straight victory in games that went to overtime.

Inside baseball note: I have a word counter in the bottom right hand corner of the editing side of the website. Upon finishing the word “overtime” at the end of that last paragraph, there were 375 words in this recap that didn’t mention the following:

MARKUS HOWARD SET A NEW PROGRAM SINGLE GAME SCORING RECORD WITH 53 POINTS.

HOLY CRAP.

This one wasn’t as nuts as his 40 point half against Buffalo, as Howard already had 19 points at the midway point of this game. Still, though, it was an amazing performance by Howard to shove the Golden Eagles across the finish line for a win that they had no business getting based on the first 39 minutes and 59.92 seconds. Howard finishes with 53, surpassing his own record of 52 set last year in overtime against Providence, putting that together on 15-for-26 shooting and a bananas 10-for-14 performance behind the three-point line. In his free time, he also added two rebounds and a team high six assists.

In all fairness, he also had nine turnovers, four in each half of regulation, and with Marquette ending with just 14 turnovers as a team, Howard’s lack of control was a pretty big reason why the Bluejays held the advantage for nearly all of this game. In fact, relative to their advantage, Marquette never led in the game until Howard scored the first basket of overtime. Markus Howard giveth, Markus Howard taketh away. Thankfully for all of our blood pressure levels, there was a lot more giveth in Nebraska tonight.

Up Next: Marquette returns to Milwaukee for their next game. Seton Hall comes to Fiserv Forum on Saturday afternoon following whatever happens to them against Butler on Wednesday night. As I type this, SHU leads 38-33 early in the second half.