Marquette drops second straight in 69-68 loss to DePaul

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Markus Howard (0) attempts a 3-pointer in Marquette's 76-72 win over DePaul on Feb. 1.

After losing to Seton Hall Saturday on Senior Day, Marquette traveled down I-94 to take on DePaul looking tor turn things around.

However, it was the Blue Demons who came out on top, defeating the Golden Eagles 69-68  Tuesday night.

Despite DePaul’s best player in 6-foot-9 forward Paul Reed being out for tonight’s game with an injury, the Blue Demons were able to compete with the Golden Eagles throughout the game and eventually were able to overcome MU at the end.

Both teams struggled to shoot the ball in the first half, as both teams were below 40% from the field. Markus Howard was the only player for either team in double-digits.

Marquette had its opportunities to pull away, but their nine first-half turnovers and 4-for-15 shooting from beyond the arc kept DePaul in the game, and lead the score to be tied at 32 going into halftime.

The start of the second half was more of the same in terms of poor shooting on both sides. DePaul did not make a field goal until two minutes into the half and Marquette didn’t until Sacar Anim hit a three at the 16:34 mark of the half.

Marquette’s shooting from the field was good enough to maintain the lead for most of the half, but their struggles held them back from taking a double-digit lead, and eventually, free throws allowed DePaul to slowly creep back in.

DePaul ended the game shooting just 30% from the field, but they scored 31 of their 69 points from the free-throw line, making 31-of-35 attempts. Coming into the tonight, DePaul was last in the BIG EAST in free throw percentage.

The Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run about halfway through the second half, but after that DePaul continued to come back with free throws and timely buckets, and they brought the Marquette lead down to just three with under four minutes to play.

DePaul then tied the game at 63-63 forcing Marquette to call a timeout with less than a minute to go. Out of the timeout, Marquette looked for Howard to shoot the three and he tried to get open for the entirety of the shot clock but eventually shot a contested 3-pointer was blocked.

After that block, DePaul went down and got the lead on a pair of free throws. On the next possession for Marquette, Brendan Bailey got a good look from the top of the key but it fell well short, and that was ultimately the last chance for Marquette.

Howard ended up hitting a three at the buzzer while his team was down by four, which brought his point total to 29 on the night. He shot 7-for-20 from the field, had seven rebound and three assists, and was the only Golden Eagle to score in double figures.

DePaul, on the other hand, had a more balanced scoring output. Despite the struggles from the field, all five DePaul starters scored in double figures, highlighted by a double-double from Romeo Weems, who lead the team with 11 rebounds and was second with 13 points.

Fellow guards Sacar Anim and Koby McEwen also contributed on the night for Marquette. Anim struggled early but made a few shots late to get up to nine points in addition to his four steals while McEwen scored eight points along with tallying six rebounds and four assists.

Jayce Johnson collected a team-high 10 rebounds, his third straight game with double-digit rebound totals. Theo John also added seven rebounds and seven points despite both big men struggling with foul trouble late in the game.

With the loss, Marquette has now lost five of their last six games. Marquette has fallen into a similar skid as they did last season when they lost the final four regular-season games and went on to be dominated by Ja Morant and Murray State in the first round in the NCAA Tournament.

Marquette (18-11, 8-9 BIG EAST) will remain on the road for the regular-season finale as they travel to New York to take on St. John’s Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for noon Eastern Standard Time.

This article was written by Matt Yeazel. He can be reached at matthew.yeazel@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel.