On February 23, the Marquette Golden Eagles were 12- in Big East play following a win over the Providence Friars. Everything seemed to be in place for the Golden Eagles to win their first-ever regular season Big East championship. Then a seies of events that culminated on Saturday unfolded, ultimately leaving MU without a regular season title.
The story began with a win by the Villanova Wildcats on February 27, and concluded with an 86-84 win by the Georgetown Hoyas on Marquette’s home floor. Fiserv Forum saw the tumultuous end to a tumultuous stretch, as the Golden Eagles racked up heir fourth consecutive loss on Saturday afternoon.
MU and Georgetown traded blows in the final few minutes of the game. But thanks in part to two free throws by James Akinjo with 10 seconds remaining, the Hoyas went up by four to help put the game out of reach. Markus Howard hit a 3-pointer, with three seconds to go, but the effort was still futile. Jamorko Pickett knocked one free throw down with two seconds remaining, and MU couldn’t get the job done after that.
The aforementioned Akinjo led the Hoyas in point with 25, getting there with eight made field goals, five from 3-point land. Mac McClung was close to follow with 23, and he got to the line an awful lot. McClung had 14 free throw attempts, leading both sides, and knocked down 11 of them. Jessie Govan and the aforementioned Pickett each had 10 to give Georgetown four double figure scorers.
Howard, naturally led, the charge with 28 points. BUt he was pretty inefficient, as he only converted on eight of his 25 attempts from the field. He wasn’t sharp from deep, going 3-for-10 from beyond the arc. The only area he excelled in was at the line, where he made nine of 11 free throw attempts. Joey Hauser was second on the team in scoring with 16 points on the day. Sacar Anim scored 12, and rounding things out was Brendan Bailey, who chipped in 11.
Marquette is obviously swallowing a very bitter pill. A Big East championship was in their grasp, and they simply let it slip away over the last two weeks. They are still No. 2 in the Big East and will get a high seed in the NCAA Tournament. But, there’s certainly room for unsatisfactory feelings. Georgetown, meanwhile, gets a big boost after being knocked on their heels earlier this week by the DePaul Blue Demons. They’ll now have to hope for big success in the Big East Tournament if they want to solidify a possible berth in the NCAA Tournament.