Marquette gives up 21 straight points in Xavier loss

Farr grabbed a career-high 19 boards in strong defensive showing

Luke Fischer scored the first three Marquette baskets, but struggled with foul trouble (Photo by Ben Erickson/

Marquette looked dominant in the paint to kick off the game against No. 7 Xavier, finding Luke Fischer alone on the first three buckets thanks to solid ball movement. At the first timeout, the Golden Eagles were up seven, and everything seemed to be going right.

Then, the team started settling for outside shots. The ball movement went away, the room in the paint went away once Xavier brought in James Farr and, most importantly, the points went away.

“Right away we attacked it well,” Henry Ellenson said. “I think we got stagnant.”

Xavier went on an eight minute, 21-0 run, featuring 11 straight misses by Marquette in the first half. The Musketeers would lead the rest of the way, in a game that felt more one-sided than the 74-66 final.

“I’ve been on the staffs of teams that have won a national championship,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Xavier is that level a team … That’s a damn good team.”

Duane Wilson and Ellenson each missed layups, summarizing a game where the team as a whole had a terrible shooting performance. Wilson went 2-for-15 and 1-for-10 from three-point range. Traci Carter shot 1-for-7, hitting a three with three minutes left in the game. Haanif Cheatham went 0-for-4. The team as a whole shot 24-of-70 (34 percent) from the field and 4-for-25 (16 percent) from three-point range.

“I was just relieved that we were keeping them off the glass,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “That’s what our zones designed to do. If we can keep them from getting second shots we’re going to continue to play in that zone … It helps when the ball goes in.”

Marquette was forced into the outside shots once Xavier went into their 1-3-1 defense. The lanes for Ellenson were gone, and Fischer’s early fouls put him into a bind. Marquette got open looks, but they simply wouldn’t fall.

“It’s an unusual defense,” Wojciechowski said. It’s definitely not a defense you see with the personnel they have … That defense has caused a lot of people problems.”

Farr set a career high with 19 rebounds, the most by a Xavier player since Travis Taylor in 2013. He was tied for second in scoring with 16 points.

“He’s a one-man wrecking crew off the glass,” Mack said.

“Farr is a beast,” Wojciechowski said. “They’re bringing him off the bench. He’d start on every team in our league. It’s incredible.”

Despite losing by double-digits a majority of the game, Marquette had plenty of chances to fight their way back. Xavier had one of their poorer performances and turned the ball over five times more than Marquette. The Musketeers didn’t fare much better from long range, shooting 5-for-22. The Golden Eagles often failed to take advantage, and when they did, Xavier would counter. Myles Davis didn’t score until the last five minutes of the game, but his back-to-back threes in the final minutes kept the Golden Eagles at a safe distance.

“He was 0-for-7 at one point,” Mack said. “When Marquette was in their wide zone, we called a set play to get Myles a three. That’s how much trust and faith I have in him as a big game player.”

For two players, today marked a return to game action. Jajuan Johnson missed the Villanova game after hurting his neck against St. John’s. He looked a bit rusty early on since he was only cleared yesterday according to Wojciechowski, but drove the lane with more authority as the game went along. He finished with 13 points. Xavier’s Edmond Sumner scored 15 points in his first game since suffering a concussion in the Musketeers’ BIG EAST opener against Villanova.

Henry Ellenson led the team with 20 points but only grabbed four rebounds.

Wally Ellenson had a performance that will likely earn him a bigger slot in the rotation. He nearly had a double-double, notching nine points and eight boards.

“Without Jujuan and without Wally we would have lost by 30,” Wojciechowski. “Those two kids, of all of our guys, really showed some competitive spirit.”

Henry Ellenson got up slowly in the second half after taking a foul. His shin was iced at postgame, but he said it is only a bruise.

Marquette will be back in action Wednesday to play DePaul for the first time this season. The Blue Demons are winless in the conference after five games.