Marquette Wire

Shorthanded Golden Eagles fight, fall to Nova

Photo+by+Cassie+Rogala%2Fcassierogala%40gmail.com
Photo by Cassie Rogala/cassierogala@gmail.com

Photo by Cassie Rogala/cassierogala@gmail.com

Photo by Cassie Rogala/cassierogala@gmail.com

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Despite playing just six scholarship members against No. 6 Villanova, the Marquette men’s basketball team showed some fight in an 87-76 loss to the Wildcats.

Marquette (11-15, 3-11) entered the game with just six active scholarship players due to injuries to senior Juan Anderson and graduate student Matt Carlino. Carlino suffered a concussion Feb. 4 against Villanova in Philadelphia when he toppled over Ryan Arcidiacono after biting on a shot fake. Carlino returned to the game, but has missed every minute since the final buzzer that day. As for Anderson, he rolled his ankle in Thursday’s practice. The team listed him as questionable for the game, but he did not see a minute of action.

With the injuries, the Golden Eagles added freshman Sandy Cohen III and sophomore Jajuan Johnson to the starting lineup and junior Steve Taylor Jr. was the only player coming of the bench.

Fatigue wsa a major concern for the short staffed Golden Eagles. Marquette didn’t bring in Taylor, Jr. until seven minutes into the first half, when he replaced Johnson. Thirty-six seconds later, Johnson was back in the game, replacing sophomore Luke Fischer. Coach Steve Wojciechowski had to be creative with his floor rotations, but was quick to sub players in and out players as they tired.

Fatigue started to set in at the last media timeout of the first half. Marquette kept the game relatively close throughout the majority of the half and never trailed by more than six. But at the five-minute mark, Villanova started a 12-0 run that built the Wildcats a 41-27 lead. The Golden Eagles chipped the lead down to nine points, but having just one sub was starting to affect the team.

Villanova picked right back up where it left off in the first half, opening the second frame with an 11-3 run, thanks to three Arcidiacono 3-pointers in the first two minutes. With the 54-41 lead, the Wildcats had a solid lead and a chance to put away the Golden Eagles. However, the sixth-ranked Wildcats never managed to do so, as Marquette clawed its way back to put pressure on the Wildcats.

Coach Steve Wojciechowski said Arcidiacono is a major part of the Wildcats’ offense, and he showed it against the Golden Eagles.

“Arcidiacono, he’s a heck of a player,” Wojciechowski said. “He just came in, boom boom, and they scored eight points in 80 seconds. He was a big key to that. But that’s what one of the best point guards in the country does. When a team needs him for a spark, he gives them a spark.”

Twice in the second half, the Wildcats were primed to get a 20-point lead and sink the Golden Eagles, but each time Marquette came back to make things interesting. With 13:03 left in the game, Villanova had its largest lead of the game at 17, but Marquette pulled within 10 with 10:21 remaining. At the 5:51 mark, the Wildcats led by 16, but the Golden Eagles got within 10 again with 2:11 left to play. A nine-point deficit at 1:28 was the closest the team would get.

Wojciechowski said it was good to see his team refuse to quit against the Wildcats.

“I thought we fought,” Wojciechowski said. “I thought at different times in the second half where they had a chance to break the game open, our guys fought back.”

Foul trouble started to cause problems for the Golden Eagles late in the second half. Cohen entered the half with three fouls, and Johnson added to the problem with three first-half fouls. Two quick fouls on Fischer to start the second half also put the team in trouble. Cohen fouled out with 1:37 left in the game and Fischer fouled out with 29 seconds remaining. Taylor Jr. came in relief for Cohen, and then Michael Mache, a walk-on, entered the game for Fischer and earned one of the largest ovations of the game. Mache registered two offensive rebounds in the game.

Marquette will try to get back in the win column with a tough road match against Butler Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

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