It’s an old cliche, but it’s not a tired one: Basketball is a game of runs. Everyone scores more than a few points in a basketball game, so it’s not about shutting your opponent out, it’s about putting together more positive runs than negative runs.
That’s what Marquette men’s basketball did on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum as they beat Georgetown, 77-66, to move to 17-9 on the season and 9-6 in Big East play.
With 8:25 left in the first half, Georgetown forward Aminu Mohammed splashed a pair of free throws to tie the ball game up at 23 points each. Marquette had led by as many as six at one point up to then, but through a bit more than 11 minutes of action, it was all even.
And then Kam Jones remembered how much he liked shooting and hitting three-pointers. Back-to-back possessions for the Golden Eagles were long range bombs from the freshman from Tennessee, and that put MU up six. The run turned into 11 straight for Marquette, then 19-3 favoring MU, then 25-8 in the Golden Eagles’ direction after a three-pointer from Justin Lewis with less than a minute to go before halftime.
48-31 at intermission, and the first three MU possessions of the second half went like this:
- Kur Kuath in the paint
- Tyler Kolek three-pointer
- Justin Lewis in transition
7-0 coming out of the locker room, 32-8 run by the Golden Eagles since that 23-all tie. The lead would peak at 26 on a Kuath bucket with 12:32 left in the game. 66-40, everything coming up roses.
And then Georgetown put up a 15-2 run. 68-55 Marquette after some freebies from Mohammed, but there was just 6:26 to play. Five straight from Kuath bought Marquette some stasis for a while, almost all the way to the four minute mark. The Hoyas ratcheted up the defensive pressure, and while it didn’t really turn into much in the way of turnovers, it definitely made Marquette uncomfortable.
A three-pointer from Collin Holloway capped a little 6-0 spurt to pull the Hoyas within 12, but Olivier-Maxence Prosper hammered home an absolutely ridiculous transition dunk to make it 14, 75-61, with 2:35 to play. Oso Ighodaro dunked to wrap up Marquette’s scoring with 75 seconds left, and Donald Carey threw in a meaningless three-pointer with 46 seconds left to give us the final margin of 11 points.
Am I telling you to be super excited that Marquette frittered away 15 points of the maximum lead? Nope. Am I pointing out that the closest Georgetown got across the final nearly 25 minutes of the game was 11 points, the number that the game landed on at the horn? Yep.
If you want to argue that Marquette should have absolutely blitzed the Hoyas by more than they did, you’re probably not wrong. The loss drops Georgetown to 0-14 in Big East play, matching the worst start to conference play by any Big East team since The Catholic Seven reformed the league nearly a decade ago. It’s one of the five worst starts in Big East history, dating all the way back to the 1970s. It’s a really bad Georgetown team.
But they’re also not getting blown out every night, either. They might be awful and winless to boot, but they’re playing with pride. Can’t fault them for punching back after Marquette stuck it to them for a good stretch in the middle of the game.
The 19 points from Kam Jones is a season and thus career high for the freshman, and he got there on a blistering 7-for-12 shooting night, including 5-for-10 from behind the arc. He also added two rebounds and two assists to the proceedings. Kur Kuath had a great game, putting up 15 points on a perfect 7-for-7 and getting four rebounds, two assists, and three blocks. Kuath’s first block of the night broke a tie with Theo John for the seventh most blocks in any Marquette season, so that’s pretty neat.
Tyler Kolek had 11 assists as the Golden Eagles had just four buckets all night that didn’t come off a helper. Justin Lewis had a ho-hum 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two blocks with multiple NBA scouts in the building.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will be back in action on Sunday. They’ll be visiting Creighton for a matinee with tipoff set for 2pm Central, but the Bluejays will be visiting DePaul on Thursday before the Golden Eagles make their way to Nebraska.