On Thursday and Friday, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles picked up upset wins (at least according to Las Vegas) over Ole Miss and West Virginia to advance to the championship game of the Charleston Classic. All in all, a pretty good week for head coach Shaka Smart, and that’s before we take into account MU knocking off #10 Illinois back on Monday night.
Waiting on Sunday evening at TD Arena in South Carolina? The #22 ranked St. Bonaventure Bonnies, fresh off wins over Boise State and Clemson to get to the title game. It would definitely be quite the accomplishment for the Golden Eagles to run their record to 6-0 and beat a ranked team for the second time in six days.
That, uh, did not happen.
The Golden Eagles shot just 30.4% from the field, including a woebegone 22% from behind the three-point line as St. Bonaventure turned an eight point halftime margin to a 16 point final deficit, 70-54. Shaka Smart has finally taken his first loss of his Marquette tenure, but hey, he was going to take a loss eventually, y’know? There’s no real shame in losing to a top 25 team, and definitely no shame in losing to one on a neutral floor at that.
There’s not much to say about this one. Marquette didn’t have it going on offense pretty much from the start of the game, and they were lucky the score was only 33-25 at the half. St. Bonaventure had turned a one point game, 23-22, to a 10 point game, 33-23, in a matter of four minutes. It could definitely have kept going up, but a bucket off an offensive rebound by Justin Lewis with 54 seconds to go in the half kept the Golden Eagles within single digits.
Jaren Holmes opened up the second half with a bucket for SBU, and the lead was never back under 10 the rest of the way. The game quickly got out of control after that, as the Bonnies pushed the margin to 20 with 14:23 left to play. It is what it is. Marquette’s not the #21 team in the country, but that’s not a surprise to anyone, or at least it shouldn’t.
The lead maxed out at 27 on a dunk by Osun Osunniyi with 6:50 to go, and I point this out for a good reason: Marquette did officially only lose by 16. Over the final 2:14, MU run off the last nine points of the game. Did Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt take his foot off the gas by putting his starters that usually play north of 35 minutes a night on the bench? Yes, absolutely, but it’s not nothing to score nine straight in just barely over two minutes no matter what.
Justin Lewis is your leading scorer on the night, getting 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting, which sounds fine. He went 1-for-6 from behind the arc, though, and that’s less fine. Lewis also had 11 rebounds, which helped propel him to all-Charleston Classic honors. Darryl Morsell and Kam Jones tied for the assists lead with three each.
Up Next: Marquette gets more than a few well deserved days off. The guys will be back in action after Thanksgiving with a home date against Northern Illinois on Saturday evening. Tipoff is set for 7pm Central. The Huskies have lost three straight since opening their year with a road win over Washington, and will face Little Rock in Jacksonville on Monday before making their way up to Milwaukee this weekend.