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The Ugly & The Dirty: Marquette 66, Robert Morris 62

Sweet Christmas almighty, what in the holy hell was that

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round- Marquette vs Murray State Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Holy crap where do I even start on this?

Okay, look. Good news: Marquette men’s basketball picked up win #3 on the season, bouncing back from their first loss of the season by defeating Robert Morris on Saturday. The Golden Eagles are still unbeaten at home in 2019-20.

Oh, right, the score.

It was 66-62. 66-62, when KenPom.com predicted a 80-55 victory for the Golden Eagles and Vegas had MU favored by 24 points.

It was very very b.... y’know what? I’m not going say that the entirety of the game was bad. There’s some very serious bad parts of this game, but there’s a lot of legitimately reasons to be pleased with the proceedings.

The primary reason it went poorly? The turnovers. So, so, so, so many turnovers by Marquette. The Golden Eagles committed 13 turnovers in the first half of the game, which is a very large reason — and I swear to you this is what actually happened — why Marquette trailed 20-19 at halftime. While the scoring rapidly picked up after halftime, MU was never able to put real distance between themselves and Robert Morris thanks to eight more delightful giveaways in the final 20 minutes.

For a moment in the second half, which was monumentally better than the very awful first half where just 39 total points were scored by both teams, Marquette found themselves leading by 12. Buckets on back-to-back possessions by Ed Morrow were the capper on a 7-0 burst by the Golden Eagles that gave them that margin with 10:35 to play. Then, three minutes later, Brendan Bailey drained a three-pointer to put Marquette up 13. 48-35, 7:35 to play. After nearly 13 minutes added onto that no good first 20 minutes, it seemed like Marquette was ready to take control of the game and win by a respectable margin.

Aaaaaaaand they did not.

A 12-3 run by the Colonials capped by an and-1 in the lane by AJ Bramah took Marquette’s okay but not great lead and beat it into submission to trim the lead to just three points, 53-50, with three minutes to play. After all of that lousy first half, and a generally passable first 13 minutes of the second half, we were back to a one possession game that was very very very much in doubt.

Buckets from Sacar Anim and Markus Howard partnered up with two free throws from Theo John to put Marquette up eight, 59-51, with 1:41 to play.

STILL NOT OVER.

Thanks to — SURPRISE — a turnover, RMU’s Dante Treacy was able to answer some Markus Howard free throws by burying a three-pointer, and BOOM, THREE POINT GAME WITH 30 SECONDS LEFT.

YEEEEEHAW.

Thank goodness that Koby McEwen is on the roster, as he canned three free throws as Robert Morris was fouling to get the ball back quickly, and that gave MU juuuuuuuust enough breathing space to escape with the win.

lord help us all

Sacar Anim led Marquette in scoring on the afternoon with 14 points. It’s a rare day where we get to say that Markus Howard did not lead the way, but the senior from Arizona played just eight minutes in the first half. He snagged two fouls pretty quickly and as a result, did not even attempt a single field goal until after halftime. Howard scored 11 points in 17 minutes in the second half, but he did his damage from the free throw line, as RMU held him to just six field goal attempts in the game.

Okay, that’s enough of this nonsense. I’m tired of even thinking about this game.

Up Next: Marquette won’t play again until Thanksgiving evening. That’s when they’ll square off with Davidson at Disney’s Wide World Of Sports at Walt Disney World in the Orlando Invitational.