Marquette Wire

Men’s basketball loses fourth straight game, misses out on BIG EAST regular-season title

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Men’s basketball loses fourth straight game, misses out on BIG EAST regular-season title

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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For the fourth consecutive game, No. 16 Marquette men’s basketball (23-8, 12-6 BIG EAST) blew a second-half lead against a lower-ranked or unranked team.

This time, Marquette lost 86-84 to the Georgetown Hoyas, missing out on a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title.

The Golden Eagles had an eight-point lead with just over 12 minutes remaining, but then the Hoyas slowly gnawed away at Marquette’s lead and tied it three times before taking the lead with 6:49 remaining.

Marquette could never retake the lead despite plenty of opportunities in the final minutes.

The Golden Eagles had a chance down 82-80 in the final seconds of the game. Georgetown guard James Akinjo missed a shot with 15 seconds left, but fellow Hoya Jessie Govan grabbed the offensive rebound. He missed the put-back but got another offensive rebound and then drew a foul.

“They were huge momentum plays,” Wojciechowski said. “Sometimes those things happen.”

A 3-pointer from junior guard Markus Howard with three seconds left brought MU within one, but Georgetown split a pair free throws and wrestled with MU junior forward Sam Hauser for the rebound. Hauser couldn’t get a good shot off before the buzzer sounded.

Akinjo and fellow Georgetown guard Mac McClung combined to score 48 points, including 29 points in the second half.

“Their freshman guards just had their way with us,” Wojciechowski said. “You can’t let a backcourt come in here and score (almost) 50.”

Akinjo had more points in the second half than any MU player had in the entire game except junior guard Markus Howard.

“James Akinjo played his butt off,” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said.

Howard led MU with 28 points, but he did so at an inefficient 8-for-25 clip.

“I don’t think you can stop (Howard). He’s an outstanding player, but I think James Akinjo took the challenge for pretty much the whole game,” Ewing said. “Then Jagan Mosely did his part. … You have to throw a lot of bodies on him, and we have the ability to do that, especially with thos two guys.”

Howard had four fouls for the final six-plus minutes, forcing Wojciechowski to substitute Howard in and out eight times after his fourth foul.

“It was difficult,” Wojciechowski said. “The guys who were in when Markus was out did a good job.”

The rest of the team didn’t do much better. MU shot 34 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.

“We got great looks,” Wojciechowski said. “We missed a number (of shots) at the basket. We missed a number of open shots. But I don’t think it was the quality of our shots (that was the problem).”

MU missed plenty of looks from the free-throw line, too, going 26 of 36 from the line.

“We missed more free throws than we usually do,” Wojciechowski said. “Those things happen. We have to play better defense.”

Freshman forward Brendan Bailey was one of the few Marquette players to find success offensively. He had a career-high 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting and six rebounds.

“He continues to get more and more comfortable out on the floor,” Wojciechowski said. “He and Ed (Morrow) gave us a huge lift off the bench.”

Marquette will now be the No. 2 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament and will play the winner of one of Wednesday’s play-in games.

“We can’t let this (loss) affect us because we’re going into the BIG EAST Tournament,” Bailey said. “We just have to come together as a group, keep working hard and good things will come to us.”

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

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