On Wednesday, Marquette men’s basketball beat Xavier, and there was never any doubt as to what was going to happen in the second half.
On Saturday, in Washington, D.C., against Georgetown? Yeah, there was a bit more doubt.
The Golden Eagles needed four super clutch free throws and a defensive rebound from Koby McEwen in the final 10 seconds to hold on and beat the Hoyas, 84-80, at Capital One Arena. Marquette is now 3-3 in Big East play, which for the moment has them alone in fifth place in the standings. Georgetown drops to 2-4 and sinks to seventh place.
Okay, look. A lot of stuff happened in this game. That’s what happens when you have a 66 possession game and both teams hit 80 points. There was A LOT, and if you want to see and know about all of it, find a replay on FS2 or FS Wisconsin or something. Let’s fast forward into the second half.
After starting the final 20 minutes with a six point lead, Marquette frittered that away in less than three minutes as Mac McClung hammered home a three to make it 46-all with 17:14 to go. This is important, because this is essentially the story of the entire second half.
Marquette went up 4 with 16:10 to play, Georgetown tied it with 14:13 to go and then took a three point lead on a Jagan Mosely transition three that offends my soul because he’s really the only Hoya shooter worth mentioning.
MU scores the next four, but a Jamorko Pickett triple puts Georgetown back out front, 10:39 to go.
Markus Howard goes ballistic for a minute and a half, scoring six straight by himself. He answers a McClung bucket, and Jayce Johnson tacks on two free throws for a six point Marquette lead. Two threes from McClung and a pair of freebies from Qudus Wahub later, and boom, tied at 67, 6:40 to go.
Marquette scratches together a seven point lead, with a jumper from Howard capping a 6-0 run. Georgetown scores the next seven, including Jahvon Blair ramming home all three free throws after McEwen needlessly fouled him shooting behind the arc. Tied at 76, 94 seconds to go.
My patience was running out.
Omer Yurtseven, who was great for GU with 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, blocked a Sacar Anim attempt at the rim..... but the ball bounced off his calf and out of bounds. Markus Howard scored with a three off the ensuing inbounds, and Marquette fiiiiiinally, with 1:21 to go had a lead, 79-76, that they would not give away.
And yet, it wasn’t over.
Pickett made a layup, and then Howard only hit the front end of his foul shots after drawing a call against Terrell Allen with 28 seconds to go. Brendan Bailey maaaaaaaybe fouled McClung, but McClung only hit his second throw, and Georgetown was forced to foul while trailing by one with 10 seconds left. That’s where McEwen came in, canned his first two, grabbed the defensive rebound after Marquette successfully fouled while up three with just five seconds left, and then iced it after that.
Oh, yeah, as much as it was McEwen making the big plays to close the game after that bad foul on Blair not to mention a horrific overthrown pass late in the second half as well, the big story for Marquette’s offense was, of course, Markus Howard. The senior from Arizona cashed in for 42 points on 14-for-31 shooting, including a very nasty 6-for-14 behind the arc. He also had two rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Brendan Bailey did Brendan Bailey things, going for nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal. Jayce Johnson and Theo John went in and out and in and out based on who had fouled last all game long, finishing with a combined 14 points and 12 rebounds while chasing around Yurtseven. I do mean “chasing around” because after attempting just seven three-pointers all season long coming into Saturday, Yurtseven went 2-for-3 from long range in this one.
Up Next: Marquette wanders back home again for their next home game. St. John’s will be in the building on Tuesday night, fresh off of a loss to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden where they led the Pirates by double digits at the half.