I don’t even know what the hell to say here.
On Friday night, Marquette men’s basketball.... did a lot of things. They started out pretty great against Butler, the #13 team in the country, they let them back into the game, they took a 9 point lead with less than 14 minutes to go, they fended Butler off for a wide, wide, wide majority of that time before Kamar Baldwin tied it with 49 seconds to play at 68-all......
And then all absolute hell broke loose.
Markus Howard missed a three, Baldwin hauled it in, and, uh, well, this happened.
Yep, that’s Steve Wojciechowski calling for a foul while tied. He would later admit in the post game presser that he thought that Marquette was down 2 at the time.
Somehow, that didn’t matter!
Markus Howard pulling for three on a nothing happening no one going anywhere possession after Baldwin split his free throws and missing? DIDN’T MATTER, because even after Baldwin did connect on two freebies, Koby McEwen BURIED a monster three-pointer with two seconds to go to force overtime, tied at 71!
And then Butler scored the first four points of overtime, and HOOOOOBOY did things look like they were going sideways in Indianapolis in a hurry. Butler would led by as many as EIGHT with 45 seconds to play, but thanks to back-to-back triples from McEwen and then one from Sacar Anim after a five second violation by the Bulldogs, all of a sudden it was a 86-85 game.
I mean WHAT?
Unfortunately, there were only 27 seconds left to go, and McEwen ended up eating the foul to extend the game. That was his fifth, just seconds after he went white hot to force MU back into the game. Jordan Tucker drained both from the charity stripe, Anim missed a reverse layup, and that was essentially that.
BIG PICTURE: The loss means nothing, because at the end of the day, the Golden Eagles took a road loss to the #13 team in the country with an already amazing NET profile, a loss that they were to a certain extent that they were expected to take, and it’s not going to affect anything in terms of MU getting into the NCAA tournament one way or another.
SMALL PICTURE: HOLY GODDAMNED HELL ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS CRAP?
At halftime, the FS1 studio crew went on at length about how Sacar Anim was not more involved in the offense. Personally, I think a guy who averages 12 points per game sitting on 8 through 20 minutes is pretty involved, but that’s really neither here nor there. The point here is that Markus Howard went 3-for-10 in the second half, including 1-for-6 from behind the arc. Tack on his 0-5 in the extra five minutes, and that’s 3-for-15, including 1-for-10 from behind the arc. He was 2-for-14 after taking a tumble at the 15:46 mark and clearly banging his head, either on the floor or on a courtside chair.
Sacar Anim? Finished the game with 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting, including 4-7 behind the arc. In the second half, Anim went 4-for-8, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc. It’s a great game for him, absolutely, and the three rebounds and three assists help out, too.
But it’s very clear that Marquette needed to go somewhere that was not Markus Howard in that second half, and that did not happen. Whether Howard wasn’t quite right after the fall or he merely didn’t have it, someone needed to step in and say something. That didn’t happen. At some point, when a 9 point lead is disappearing slowly across the span of 12 minutes, someone needs to take charge of the situation. Whether that’s the All-American who knows he can’t hit shots but dished four assists when he was hitting them in the first half, or the multi-millionaire head coach who’s watching from the sideline, I don’t really care.
Up Next: Marquette will be back out on the road for their next game. That one will be next Wednesday night out in Cincinnati against Xavier. The Musketeers beat Georgetown at home in their most recent game, but will visit Creighton on Sunday before the Golden Eagles come to town.