Marquette Wire

Brunson, DiVincenzo prove to be too much in Marquette’s nail-biting loss to Villanova

Andrew+Rowsey+led+Marquette+with+29+points+against+No.+1+Villanova+Sunday%2C+but+that+was+not+enough+to+come+away+with+a+win.
Andrew Rowsey led Marquette with 29 points against No. 1 Villanova Sunday, but that was not enough to come away with a win.

Andrew Rowsey led Marquette with 29 points against No. 1 Villanova Sunday, but that was not enough to come away with a win.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Andrew Rowsey led Marquette with 29 points against No. 1 Villanova Sunday, but that was not enough to come away with a win.

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For a moment, it looked like the unthinkable could happen again – a win against No. 1 Villanova for the second consecutive year. Wildcat point guard Jalen Brunson missed a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. A Marquette rebound would give one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country a chance to tie it in the final possession.

Then reality set in. A missed boxout led to an offensive board by Villanova junior Mikal Bridges, who found sophomore Donte DiVincenzo to tip it back in and secure an eventual 85-82 win.

Marquette had one more chance, but a missed 3-pointer by small forward Sam Hauser with five seconds left removed any doubt. “Sam got a great shot. He just didn’t make it,” Wojo said. “If he made it, we would’ve called a timeout; it would’ve been a two-point game. But if Sam Hauser is open at the end of the ballgame, as his coach, I think the ball is going in.”

In most games, 54.8 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent shooting from 3-point range would be enough for Marquette to win. Villanova head coach Jay Wright described Marquette as “one of the most difficult teams to guard in the country.”

“In the first half we couldn’t stop anything,” Wright said. “In the second half, we stopped a little bit.”

Senior Andrew Rowsey scored virtually at will despite frequent foul trouble, putting in 29 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including five 3-pointers.

“You fear his three so much,” Wright said. “No matter how much you prepare for it, no matter how much you tell these guys, no matter how much they’re thinking about it, his high percentage of making threes really gets into your head.”

Eight of his points came from using pump fakes on 3-point shots to draw fouls. “That’s just what I do,” Rowsey said.

“He can shoot the ball from way out,” redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo said. “He has so much to his game that causes a lot of difficulties for the defense.”

Marquette’s offense was hampered by foul trouble all day. Markus Howard, Sacar Anim and Rowsey all finished with four fouls. Forward Harry Froling also had three fouls in his first career start.

“You want to be aggressive and go at them,” Wright said. “You want to tire them out because when they’re on the offensive end, they move so well without the ball — another reason why they’re difficult to guard.”

As a result, Villanova made more free throws (19) than Marquette attempted (12).

“The free throw line really hurt us,” Wojo said. “We have to play our defense without fouling, and then we have to be able to get our guys to the free throw line more.”

Villanova had a sharpshooting duo to get its team out of jams as well. Brunson lit Marquette up for 31 points on 10-for-21 shooting from the field and 10-for-11 shooting from the charity stripe.

“He’s just very fundamental and disciplined,” Rowsey said. “He doesn’t do anything to hurt him or his team, and that’s where he separates himself.

Brunson’s production came despite hitting just one 3-pointer.

“He could be our best post player as well as our point guard,” Wright said. “Sometimes he dribbles it into the post and creates a post-up, and sometimes we can pass it to him in there. Today, he did a great job of dribbling into the post.”

DiVincenzo, starting in place of injured junior Phil Booth, finished with 23 points on nine-for-16 shooting.

“He just does so many things, and he is so valuable for us off the bench, because whatever is going on in the game … you know it is going to be a surge of energy,” Wright said. “I was concerned today if he could maintain that, and he did a great job.”

With the loss, Marquette is now 1-7 against ranked opponents. The lone win came Jan. 9 against No. 13 Seton Hall.

The loss against Villanova is the first of a three-game homestand. Marquette hosts Butler  Wednesday and Providence Saturday for National Marquette Day. The Golden Eagles will then play five of their next six games on the road.

“I haven’t thought one second about Butler,” Wojo said. “We’re going to evaluate what we did and then we’ll get to work against Butler.”

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