I don’t even know where to start.
Heck, even if I did, I don’t know where to go next.
I mean, did you predict Marquette opening up a 14-4 lead on North Carolina in the first six-plus minutes on Wednesday night? I didn’t. I definitely had no reason to believe or even think that Marquette would lead the Tar Heels by 10 at any point in the hastily scheduled game against a UNC squad that was seemingly in position to lock up their NCAA tournament berth after hammering Louisville by 45 this past Saturday.
And yet, there we were.
Sure, the lead immediately went away, not all the way away, just down to one. Ah, yes, that makes more sense. And then 8-0 for Marquette. And then Theo John dunked to make it 10 again. 13. 16. 17??!? EIGHTEEN? and Garrison Brooks ruined it right before the half, but still: 45-29 at the break. Marquette was kicking North Carolina’s ass.
Didn’t see it coming. Neither did you and don’t you dare try and tell me differently.
At the 16:44 mark, Marquette went back up 18 on a layup by D.J. Carton. Sloooowwwwwly but surely, North Carolina came back. Drips and drabs and here and there and a dunk by Day’ron Sharpe made it an eight point game with 9:17 to go, 63-55. 20-10 “run” by the Tar Heels. Lookin’ prrrrreeeeetttty shaky there, boys.
A three by R.J. Davis cut it to seven with 7:15 to go. Marquette and UNC traded blows. Eight point game with under five to play after a layup by Sharpe.
Two freebies by Carton, two more by Greg Elliott (who was great again tonight in his second straight start), a jumper by Carton, two more free throws by the sophomore transfer from Ohio State, and la-ti-da, that was an 8-0 run and the lead was back to 16 with 2:38 to go.
Marquette wins, 83-70.
Who woulda thunk it?
The Golden Eagles move to 11-12 on the season with the win. It’s MU’s first victory over North Carolina since the two teams met in the 1977 National Championship game, moving the all-time series record to 2-4.
Four Golden Eagles scored in double digits, led by — and I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him by now — 24 points from Dawson Garcia, who also grabbed up 11 rebounds for a double-double. I figured going in that North Carolina’s twin towers in the paint would give Garcia and Theo John fits all night long leading to a very long night. Nope, didn’t happen. Garcia’s agility to go with his size drove the UNC big men crazy, and John’s 11 points and five rebounds is nothing to sniff at either.
Those two were joined in double digit land by Greg Elliott, who put up 15 points, three rebounds, and an assist in 31 starting lineup minutes in place of Koby McEwen, and D.J. Carton, who added a not particularly efficient 17 points to go with four rebounds and five assists.
Up Next: Marquette will stay in The Triangle instead of coming back to Milwaukee, and will get in a practice at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium before they head north to Storrs to face Connecticut on Saturday. Tipoff against the Huskies at Gampel Pavilion is set for