Honesty time! Because Sunday’s men’s college basketball game between Marquette and St. John’s Red Storm was scheduled with three days’ notice, I was unavailable to watch the game. Them’s the breaks.
From what I can gather from a glance at the #mubb hashtag on Twitter, various texts and DMs, and a minute or two of the radio broadcast here and there, it did not go well.
Marquette took the loss, 75-73, and has fallen to 8-9 overall and 4-7 in Big East play. It is the first time that Marquette men’s basketball has been under .500 overall after January 1st since losing in overtime at home to Butler in the 2014-15 season in a game that, coincidentally, was also played on January 31st. Is this season different because it started later and Marquette has played fewer games as a result, so they don’t have a buffer to protect them from falling under .500 on the year? Sure. Do you care about that? I bet you don’t, because I sure don’t.
It’s also the earliest that Marquette has accrued a seventh conference loss since, coincidentally, that same Butler game in 2015. You have to go back to January 30, 1999 to find a time that Marquette suffered a seventh conference loss earlier in the calendar than Sunday’s game against St. John’s. Mike Deane was fired at the end of that season when the Golden Eagles finished 15-14 overall.
Anyway. The game itself.
With Marquette fans everywhere waiting for their team to look like they had realized that they had lost in awful fashion to DePaul two games earlier, the Golden Eagles started off on the right foot, scoring the first two buckets of the game to take a 5-0 lead. Over the next four and a half minutes, MU coughed up a 17-4 run to the Red Storm with all four Golden Eagle points coming from free throws by Dawson Garcia.
Do I need to continue this recap? Yeah? Okay, fine.
Well, it got worse, with a three-pointer from Isaih Moore, who came into the game 3-for-17 on the season from long range, giving the visitors a 15 point advantage just past the midway point of the first half. Yep. Super way to build confidence that anyone in the Marquette locker room is taking any of this even halfway seriously.
Credit where credit is due, as the Golden Eagles carved that lead down into the single digits fairly quickly, but they did have to fight to keep it right around 10 points. A transition layup by Garcia with 41 seconds left made it 40-31. That’s not spectacular, but hey, it’s not 15 or more, so whatever, I guess. Julian Champagnie hit a three with 15 seconds left, so things were not good..... and then Marquette threw the inbound pass directly to Posh Alexander, and then fouled him as he went for and made the layup.
At the half: St. John’s 46, Marquette 31.
Cool. 10 minutes of basketball totally wasted.
The lead was down to seven with just over two minutes into the second half as MU scored the first eight points of the second session. A three by Jamal Cain knotted the game at 51 with 14:46 to go. That’s a 20-5 run by the Golden Eagles in just 5:14.
St. John’s scored the next five.
The deficit was back to 10 at exactly the 10 minute mark, as Marcellus Earlington scored on a second chance for the Johnnies. 4:46 elapsed, 12-2 run for St. John’s. Cool. Cool cool cool.
Somehow, and I really don’t care how at this point, Marquette pulled within one on a Koby McEwen three-pointer with 3:37 to go. That would be as close as the Golden Eagles would get. I would say that St. John’s did just enough to keep Marquette from re-tying the game or taking the lead... but that’s not true. It’s mostly true, right up until after Garcia tipped in a D.J. Carton miss with 12 seconds left to make it 75-73 favoring the Red Storm.
Because that’s when Julian Champagnie didn’t have to do anything other than just protect the ball and not turn it over in order to burn out the clock and go to the free throw line to ice the game..... and he traveled.
Marquette inbounding with 11 seconds to play, down two. Somehow.
McEwen went to the rack. He missed. St. John’s knocked the rebound out of bounds.
Three seconds left. Any bucket ties it, a three wins it.
D.J. Carton threw the ball away.
Horn. Johnnies win, Johnnies win, holy cow, Johnnies win.
Here’s the Marquette highlight package for the game, which hilariously cuts off immediately after the Garcia tip in. Then again, it is a highlight package, not a recap video, so maybe that criticism is unwarranted.
If you’re the kind of guy person who likes to say “well, the boys fought hard and had a chance to win it at the end, what can you do,” well, God bless you and your optimism. I prefer to view this one as “this is what happens when you fall behind by double digits repeatedly.”
Up Next: A quick turnaround for the Golden Eagles. They’ll be back in action on Tuesday night against Butler. The Bulldogs are 5-9 on the year and 4-7 in the Big East and coming off losses to Connecticut and Xavier.