Marquette comes short of upset in overtime thriller


Photo by Rebecca Rebholz.

For a few minutes, Marquette had taken down the Georgetown Hoyas.

Trailing 81-79 with five seconds to go, graduate student Matt Carlino received an inbounds pass from under his team’s basket, sprinted frantically up the floor, pulled back and fired what appeared to be the game-winning jumper with less than a second on the clock.

During the ensuing Hoya timeout, the officials reviewed the basket and overturned the three. Carlino’s left toe barely touched the 3-point line, thus changing the basket to a 2-point, game-tying field goal that sent the game into overtime.

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski had a good look at his senior’s shot and said he expected the referees to change the call.

“For some reason I didn’t think they were going to call it a three,” Wojciechowski said. “That’s why you didn’t see me jump up and down after the shot went in. I was mentally prepared to go to overtime.”

Carlino believed he had stolen a victory for his team.

“I kind of thought it was a three from where I was at on the floor, but I wasn’t really looking at the line at the time,” Carlino said.

Marquette continued to battle with Georgetown in the extra frame, but the Golden Eagles derailed in the closing minutes of overtime as the Hoyas went on a 9-0 run to seal a 95-85 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Marquette (10-9, 2-5) gave Georgetown (14-5, 6-2) everything they could handle for almost all of Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles countered Georgetown’s hot and timely shooting with a stellar performance of their own on the offensive end.

Carlino and redshirt freshman Duane Wilson carried Marquette offensively with 26 points each. Marquette ended the day shooting over 50 percent from the floor and 52 percent from deep. No other Golden Eagle finished the game in double figures and the next-leading scorer was freshman Sandy Cohen with eight points.

Georgetown had six players score in double figures. D’Vauntes Smith Rivera led the Hoyas with 19 points, 15 of which came in the first half. The enormous Joshua Smith tallied 18 points and gave Luke Fischer a lot of trouble on both ends of the floor.

The turning point might have been in the closing seconds of the second half when Fischer picked up his fifth foul trying to halt Smith in the lane. His absence forced Wojciechowski to send out an extremely small lineup.

“Luke’s one of our best players,” Wojciechowski said. “Luke really protects the rim and we’re very small. Some of the lineups on the floor, especially without Luke, are tiny. But, that’s the way it is.”

Overtime was extremely competitive until the closing seconds. Marquette actually took an 84-82 lead thanks to a Duane Wilson triple with 3:17 remaining, but it was all Georgetown from there.

Smith-Rivera tied the game 18 seconds later with two free throws. With 2:07 on the clock, Georgetown took the lead back with two Mikael Hopkins freebies. The dagger came with just under a minute left, when freshman Tre Campbell buried a baseline three to extend the lead to four points.

Marquette went ice-cold in the overtime period after putting out one of its best offensive efforts of the year. The Golden Eagles went 1-for-9 from the floor in extra time.

Wilson played a dazzling second half with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the second stanza. He tied the game back up early in the second half with six straight points after Georgetown had extended its halftime lead to nine.

Wojciechowski praised his young guard for another prolific performance despite a lack of experience.

“Duane as a freshman has had two 25-point games,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s pretty good. This is his 19th game as a college player and for him to do that is excellent.”

Marquette’s 2-3 zone was porous as Georgetown got an abundance of open looks throughout the game. The Hoyas shot 50 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from long-range and attempted 32 free throws.

The first half had its share of fireworks, highlighted by an emphatic slam-dunk by senior Derrick Wilson over Paul White and a no-look Carlino lay up in heavy traffic. Marquette shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, but allowed Georgetown to counter with a 58.1 percentage from the floor.

Four of Marquette’s five Big East losses have come by four points or less. Saturday’s loss is the lone exception, but the final score doesn’t accurately depict how close the contest was.

The little things often distinguish the winners and the losers. Once again, Marquette came up short, this time by centimeters.

Despite another tough loss, Wojciechowski said his team will continue to fight through a tough season.

“I think we try to start fresh each day,” Wojciechowski said. “There’s a lot of basketball to be played. The way we played to day, we beat most teams in this league. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We’re not going to throw ourselves a pity party.”