With 12 minutes left in the game on Saturday night, D.J. Carton subbed out after tweaking something in his leg without making contact with anyone else. At the time, Marquette men’s basketball trailed Georgetown 47-37. This was shortly after Koby McEwen subbed out with his third foul of the game.
Georgetown sandwiched a miss by Justin Lewis with a layup by Jamari Sibley and a triple from Chudier Bile to make it 52-37 Hoyas with 11:10 to play. 15 point lead after MU had cut a 16 point halftime margin and 18 point deficit with 19:12 to go down to 10. Not exactly what you want to see after 29 minutes that was mostly not what you wanted to see.
And yet, here we are, after the full 40 minutes, noting that Jamal Cain buried a corner three with 15 seconds to go to put the icing on a 64-60 Marquette victory. The Golden Eagles have avoided falling under .500 on the season with the win, advancing to 6-5 overall, and they are now 2-3 in Big East action.
Look, the game stunk for the first 75%. There’s no other way to put it. Marquette looked absolutely awful in the first 20 minutes, letting Georgetown close the first half on a 32-11 run to lead 36-20. MU shot just 26% in the opening 20 minutes, including an absolutely horrendous 2-for-11 from long range. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they racked up eight turnovers, which worked out to 24% of possessions at the pace things were going.
Things only vaguely looked better for the first nine minutes of the second half. Marquette was cutting into the margin, but it was a “two for us, one for you” kind of cutting into it where you never felt like they were making real progress. Then McEwen went to the bench with his fouls — he was 2-for-6 from the field at the time with four turnovers, so y’know, not the world’s biggest loss, either — and Carton sat down to figure out what was up with his leg.
And then Marquette realized that Qudus Wahab was defending Justin Lewis, and even with a four inch height advantage for Wahab, that was a mismatch for the lengthy and agile Lewis. He scored eight of his 10 points in the game in the final 10 minutes as the Hoyas had no idea how to solve that particular riddle.
The freshman from Baltimore was almost as crucial as Jamal Cain was down the stretch. The senior from Michigan scored eight straight for the Golden Eagles at one point, single handedly turning a 52-39 Georgetown lead into a 54-47 game. Georgetown managed to quiet Cain after that flurry, though, but that didn’t stop Marquette’s charge. Lewis got MU’s next two buckets, and two freebies from Greg Elliott made it a three point game with 5:18 to go. Lewis dropped in a layup, which gave Dawson Garcia a chance at the stripe to give MU their first lead since 9-8 with 14 minutes left in the first half.
And he did.
57-56, 3:19 to go.
And it wasn’t over.
Dante Harris put in a layup for the Hoyas, and MU let Wahab get loose in transition for a dunk, and the Hoyas were up, 60-59, with 80 seconds to go.
And that’s when D.J. Carton came off the bench.
And that’s when D.J. Carton’s leg was fine enough for him to get in the lane and loft in a floater to put the lead back to Marquette’s side of the ledger. One Georgetown fumble and a possession arrow pointing towards Marquette later, Cain did this on a dish from Carton:
Georgetown had some last second chances to make it interesting, but they missed them. Justin Lewis missed some freebies late — no one’s perfect — but Georgetown committed an inbounding boo boo and MU was able to wipe away the final two seconds to escape McDonough Arena with the win.
Cain is your star of the night, getting 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting, and adding six rebounds, a block, and a steal, too. Lewis was the only other Golden Eagle in double digits, getting 10 points, and seven rebounds. Garcia just barely missed a double-double, ending up with nine points and 13 rebounds.
Up Next: Hey, it’s those jerks from Connecticut! MU returns to Fiserv Forum for their next encounter, which will be their first meeting with the Huskies since January 1, 2013. Connecticut is 4-1 on the year, but 1-1 in league play with a loss to Creighton and a win over DePaul. This will be UConn’s first road game in conference play.