Sometimes, you absolutely hate to be right.
That’s me right now, after watching Marquette men’s basketball’s 95-73 victory over Georgetown on Saturday afternoon. With Marquette playing to hand the Hoyas their 6th straight Big East loss to start this season, their 26th consecutive Big East regular season loss, their 26th consecutive loss to a Big East team in any game, and their 31st straight loss to a high major opponent, I refused to do a real breakdown of what to expect from head coach Patrick Ewing’s team in the preview for this one. Why? Because they’re a bad team and they don’t deserve the effort.
The only thing that I did point out was that Georgetown has had an ability to hang with teams for a while this season, but the second halves of games inevitably fall apart on the Hoyas, and that’s how they keep losing.
So guess what happened to Marquette on Saturday afternoon?
If you had “Marquette never led by more than four points in the first half and for just 26 seconds after the 13:40 mark, while Georgetown led by as many as seven and held a two point halftime lead thanks to a Primo Spears fadeaway at the horn,” well, that’s incredibly specific but also exactly correct.
20 minutes of basketball in Milwaukee gone by and Georgetown had a 36-34 lead. This wasn’t because the Hoyas’ offense was running wild, not in the slightest, as the Golden Eagles held them under a point per possession. No, what was going on was Marquette shot 2-for-14 from beyond the three-point line in the opening half and the only thing keeping MU in the thing was 1) Georgetown turning the ball over on more than a quarter of their possessions and 2) Marquette doing a really good job on the defensive glass.
So how did Marquette win by 22 if they were down two at the break? You guessed it, splashing threes like they were going out of style, going 10-for-15 behind the arc in the final 20 minutes. After Oso Ighodaro broke the ice on the scoring after intermission, Stevie Mitchell hit MU’s third three-pointer of the game, and that was followed by two more from Kam Jones. 1:59 gone by in the second half, and MU had more made triples in the second half than in the first, and on only three attempts. That’s an 11-2 run by the Golden Eagles to tip the game by nine points and give them a 45-38 lead.
This was not the beginning of the end for Georgetown though, merely an omen of things to come. Tyler Kolek’s first bucket of the game came with 14:32 to play, and it gave Marquette an eight point lead, their new largest margin. For a minute there, it seemed like that was going to be the largest margin that Marquette was going to be able to assemble in this game, and with 13:01 to play, Akok Akok was a-cooking for Georgetown, connecting on a triple to make it 56-53 favoring MU.
One more time for the people in the back: Marquette had 56 points and led by only three points with 13:00 left on the clock.
Heck, we can go one step further: After a Chase Ross three-pointer from the corner and a bucket from Spears on the other end, Marquette had just 59 points and a four point lead with 12:00 showing on the clock.
On MU’s next possession, the Golden Eagles got two offensive rebounds and turned that into a baseline jam by freshman Ben Gold. That kicked off a 5-0 personal run by Gold who hauled in Georgetown’s miss and then hit a three-pointer but really kicked off a 14-0 run by Marquette. Took just barely over two minutes, and there you go, Marquette was up 18, 73-55, after another three by Ross.
The lead would hit 20 for the first time on a layup by Sean Jones off a steal from Kam Jones, 80-59, with 5:12 to go. They dragged the lead out to 28 points as Keeyan Itejere made the most of his playing time by cutting behind an unaware Bradley Ezewiro in transition so Stevie Mitchel could hit him with a pass coming down the lane for a dunk. That was with 1:54 to play, and that put Marquette up 95-67. That was, of course, MU’s last points of the game, which means it was a 61-31 run by the Golden Eagles in the 18:06 elapsed in the second half.
Or: 36-12 in 10 minutes to close the thing out.
Blah blah, walkons blah blah, Georgetown tacked on seven points, the end.
If you want to talk about Marquette not really having an It Factor in the first half for the second straight game, yeah, fair point. But also Marquette absolutely obliterated the opposition in the second half for the second straight game as well. I’m not against this happening, but also maybe spreading out the obliteration across all 40 minutes is more fun for everyone??
Kam Jones led Marquette with 17 points while shooting 6-for-13 from the field, which is neat, and he chipped in a team high five rebounds and four assists. OH SPEAKING OF ASSISTS, Tyler Kolek had a lot of them. Like, a lot a lot. Kolek finished with 15 helpers in 27 minutes, and it absolutely could have been more since he was taking a break from 12:03 to go to 7:32 remaining. Marquette ran wild with the guy who finished tied for the third most assists in a game in program history on the bench!! WHAT???
OH, and BY THE WAY:
Marquette’s Tyler Kolek is the first player with 15 assists and no turnovers in a Big East game over the last 30 years.— Jared Berson (@JaredBerson) January 7, 2023
ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
How about some highlights, including what I swear was a no-look layup from Kolek late in the second half, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: Can I interest you in a Big Time Big East Showdown? Next Wednesday, Marquette will host UConn, which is currently #4 in the country but probably won’t be in the new AP poll on Monday. Marquette is 4-1 in Big East action and have not lost in regulation, while the Huskies are 5-2 after dropping two in a row on the road to the pair of still unbeaten teams in the league and then beating Creighton at home on Saturday afternoon.