For the second straight game, Marquette men’s basketball lost because they could not hold on to the damn ball long enough to make use of their absurdly great shooting.
The #10 ranked Golden Eagles committed 22 — TWENTY-TWO — turnovers in a 40 minute basketball game, 10 in the first half, 12 in the second, and lost to Creighton, 66-60. With the loss, Marquette is now 23-6 and 12-4 overall. They are tied with Villanova in the loss column for the top spot in the Big East with the Wildcats having one game left while MU has two.
On Wednesday against Villanova, Marquette turned it over 18 times in a 64 possession game, which is 28% of the time. On Sunday, against Creighton, it was 22 in a 70 possession game. That’s 31% of possession ending with it going in the other direction. The Villanova loss was generally speaking acceptable, because hey, they were kind of supposed to lose that one anyway, so however it happens is within the realm of acceptable. Going back-to-back on losing by six points while throwing it all over the gym? Not acceptable, and being even worse the second time in terms of rate just makes the first one even worse.
As was the case against Villanova, Marquette shot the ball well in this game, which only makes the turnovers more annoying. They finished with an effective field goal percentage of 54.4% while hitting 57% of their twos and 35% of their threes. The defense was also fantastic, surrendering just 0.94 points per possession to one of the 25 best offenses in the country. Creighton shot just 46% inside the arc and a really crummy 30% from outside it for an eFG% of just 45.3%. Creighton had not won a game all season with an eFG% below 54%, and MU held them way way way way way under that..... and still let them win.
Even with all the turnovers, Marquette had this game in their hands. Largely and loudly thanks to a 21 straight points from Markus Howard across the final 12 minutes of the first half, MU went into the break up 33-29. Creighton would bounce back and claim the lead in the second half, but the advantage bounced back and forth for a while. The Jays went up four, 48-44, on a layup by Marcus Zegarowski, but that was quickly turned around by — surprise — four straight points by Howard and a triple from Sam Hauser. It was the first basket of the game for Hauser, and MU was up 3, 51-48, with 6:52 left to go. 90 seconds later, it was Howard again, and the Golden Eagles were up five. It was a small margin, but it was a low scoring game, and hey: you only have to win by 1, right?
That’s where the wheels came off for Marquette. The Bluejays scored 10 straight to claim a six point lead, and that was pretty much that. Six of Marquette’s turnovers came in between points for them, as if the universe needed to distill this game down to a four-and-a-half minute microcosm.
Howard was electrifying in the first half, getting 21 points before the break. He finished with 33, which is still amazing, getting it on 11-for-21 shooting and a personal effective field goal percentage of 62%. He added two rebounds, three assists, and two steals, all of which is great. His six turnovers, however, was all bad. The elder Hauser finished with just three points on the aforementioned turning point triple, but he added 10 rebounds and two blocks before fouling out late.
Creighton was led by 19 points from Martin Krampelj, who was pretty great on 8-of-13 shooting. Ty-Shon Alexander was not efficient, but he got to 14 points thanks to seven made free throws, and he got seven rebounds, too.
How about some highlights, such as they are, thanks to FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette heads out on the road for their final road game of the year on Wednesday. They’ll be out in New Jersey to tangle with Seton Hall, who just lost their third straight game on Saturday and will be desperate to cling to the NCAA tournament bubble with a win over a team that’s clearly in the field.