The more astute and smart Anonymous Eagle readers amongst you will notice that this recap is being published much later than a recap for Marquette men’s basketball is usually published. I’ll be honest with you: as the person tasked with writing this recap, I was in no mental state to write coherently about witnessing Marquette’s 86-64 loss to Georgetown in the regular season finale.
So I went out to dinner instead to clear my head.
They were delicious.
Okay, enough stalling.
Let’s be honest about what happened, okay? For the fourth consecutive game, Marquette appeared to have a win nestled in their hands, and then they let it get away. Four straight games, four straight losses to end the regular season. To make things even worse, Marquette has gone from “win this game to clinch a share of the Big East title” to “win two of the next three to clinch a share of the Big East title” to “win both of the remaining two to clinch a share of the title” to “holy crap, Seton Hall beat Villanova, all MU has to do is win this one game to clinch a share of the Big East title.” They had full and total control of their future.... and it all got tossed directly out the window. Marquette heads to New York for the Big East tournament as the #2 seed in the field, and as late as 3pm Central time on Saturday, it didn’t have to be that way.
It’s so infuriating.
It all looked like it was going so well. Even though Las Vegas had Marquette -10 coming in, the first half didn’t trend in that direction. MU needed an ultra-cold three-pointer buzzer beater from Sam Hauser to have a 39-37 lead at halftime, but that lead was gone less than four minutes into the second half. A flurry of three-pointers seemed to tilt things towards the Golden Eagles, especially with the second two coming from little used freshman Brendan Bailey. When you get a guy taking advantage of his opportunity knocking down big shots for you, things are going in your favor.
Well, you’d think they were.
Bailey’s three with 12:28 remaining capped off that 9-0 run and put Marquette up eight, their biggest lead of the game. That should be good, right? It probably is.... when you don’t make only four more field goals for the entire rest of the game. Two of those shots came in the final minute, and the last one only pulled Marquette within one with three seconds to go. Marquette finished shooting just 37% from the field in the second half even while going 7-for-15 from long range. Amazingly, that was the good shooting half for the Golden Eagles, as they hit just 33% of their shots in the first half. Rebounding? Good. Turnovers? Great! MU only coughed it up five times in this game. After the last three contests, that’s amazing.
But it didn’t matter.
The guys you most want taking shots for Marquette — Markus Howard and Sam Hauser — couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn on Saturday. Howard finished 8-for-25, including 3-for-10 from behind the arc, while a 1-for-7 long range performance doomed the elder Hauser to a 2-for-11 afternoon. Everyone else... was actually pretty good. The rest of the roster collectively shot 42%. I mean, yeah, that’s not GREAT, but it’s a lot better than the 28% we got from Howard and Hauser.
Up Next: It’s postseason tournament time, and I’ll say this much: At least the last four games will not cost Marquette a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles will start off action in the Big East tournament as the #2 seed on Thursday in the quarterfinals. They’ll play either the #7 or the #10 seeded team as the bracket dictates, with those two teams squaring off on Wednesday night. As of this writing, St. John’s is locked into the #7 seed, while the #10 spot is up in the air. It’s either going to be Butler or Creighton, but that’s going to be decided by the result of DePaul-Creighton, which is still underway. If the Jays win, it’s Butler, and if they lose, they get the #10 spot.