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The What & The This Again: DePaul 68, Marquette 61

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Yet once again, Steve Wojciechowski is completely confounded by the mere existence of the Blue Demons.

Big East Basketball Tournament - First Round
Marquette got cooked by Charlie Moore and DePaul on Saturday night.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hey, what if I write the recap from the DePaul perspective just to make the experience of having to type this all out actually fun?

[sigh]

Marquette men’s basketball lost to DePaul for the second straight outing. This time it was 68-61 at Fiserv Forum, the first time that the Blue Demons have won in Milwaukee since January 20, 2016. Charlie Moore shot a woeful 5-for-13 from the field for the visitors, but sank all 10 of his free throw attempts to finish with 21 points and lead his time to victory.

The slight feeling of dread that comes along with every game against DePaul with Steve Wojciechowski coaching Marquette started getting magnified early on Saturday evening. D.J. Carton hit a three-pointer for MU to put the home team up 9-5 at the 14:46 mark of the first half. Over the next three minutes, the Blue Demons put up a 10-0 run punctuated by a layup from Darious Hall to take a 15-9 lead.

From there on out, Marquette was playing off their back foot and they looked like it. Sure, they scored the next seven points to retake the lead, and the game bounced back and forth for most of the rest of the half. But the score doesn’t tell you the whole story here, as Marquette committed 10 turnovers in the first half, which really handcuffed their ability to try to put DePaul behind them. Missing a metric ton of shots on the interior — 3-for-17 on twos, 5-for-12 on threes — didn’t help, either. Carton cashed three free throws on a really bad foul by Moore to put Marquette up 24-22 with 3:17 to go in the half.... and the Golden Eagles wouldn’t score again before halftime. Six straight after a last second free throw by Hall made it 30-24 at the break.

You’d like to think that halftime would have been a peel the wallpaper blasting from the coaching staff after a lifeless and sloppy opening 20 minutes, but after a second chance bucket by Moore made it 34-26 less than three minutes into the second half, Wojciechowski called timeout in what definitely looked like a “WHAT DID I JUST SPEND 10 MINUTES TALKING TO YOU ABOUT” timeout.

And then Koby McEwen turned it over on the ensuing possession, leading to a jumper by Javon Freeman-Liberty.

I don’t want to belabor the point here, so let’s just fast forward to the 11:18 mark, when a layup from Hall put DePaul out in front 13, 45-32. This was DePaul’s largest lead of the game. This is important to note because it appeared that this is where the wheels fell off for DePaul. Over the next seven and a half minutes, Marquette outscored DePaul 24-9 to take a 56-54 lead on a Jamal Cain three-pointer. This was some pretty good basketball, and it looked like Marquette was righting the ship. They were playing with fire and emotion and enthusiasm for the first time all game in a situation where, as we talked about in the preview, the postseason future of the team was kind of hanging in the balance. You would have liked to see it happen sooner, perhaps about 1 second before the opening tip, but you take what you can get as long as it ends in a W, right?

This did not end in a W.

In fact, that run didn’t even lead to good things in the next minute.

After Cain’s bucket with 3:18 to go, Marquette didn’t score again until there was 34 seconds left. DePaul scored eight straight after MU punched them in the mouth. The Blue Demons did exactly what you want your team to do: Buck back when you get shoved in the chest. DePaul got shoved in the chest for nearly eight straight minutes, and when they needed to do something about it to close it out with a win, they did. Tip of the cap to them, as it ended up giving them their first Big East win of the season.

The result was bad, but D.J. Carton had a nice game for Marquette. A game high 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 4-for-10 from behind the three-point line went along with three rebounds and three assists as he was the only Golden Eagle to score more than eight points. Of course, he also had three of Marquette’s 14 turnovers, but at least his shooting wasn’t the problem on this night. We will probably go to our graves trying to figure out why Dawson Garcia, MU’s leading scorer coming into Saturday night, didn’t even shoot the ball at all in the final 12 minutes of the game. Garcia finished up with three points and six rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

Up Next: Well, we can pretend that Marquette can try to start salvaging their season on Wednesday when they make the trip to Rhode Island to tangle with Providence in Alumni Hall. Unfortunately, the bracketologists already thought that Marquette wasn’t a tournament team before they took their first Quadrant 4 loss of the season in this game, so that’s not the case. It’s Year 7 of The Steve Wojciechowski Era, and things are probably not going to end on a positive note this year unless some things massively change over the next 11 games.