Golden Eagles suffer blowout loss against No. 5 Villanova

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Senior forward Theo John puts up a shot over sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (24) (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

The Marquette Golden Eagles lost their third consecutive BIG EAST conference game after falling 85-68 to the No. 5 Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday night.

Villanova was able to put together an impressive shooting performance throughout the entire 40 minutes of play. The Wildcats shot 48% from the field, 39% from beyond and 88% from the free throw line.

After Xavier shot 70% from three in the second half against Marquette on Sunday, Villanova went 6-for-15 from three in the final 20 minutes of play on Wednesday.

“You have to give credit to your opponent,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “When you talk about Villanova and you talk about Xavier, you’re talking about two of the best shooting teams in the country. And so, they made some tough shots and then we had some breakdowns defensively as well, and when you have breakdowns against a team like Villanova they make you pay.”

Senior guard Collin Gillespie led the way for VU with 22 points, four rebounds and two assists. He was also a menace from deep, going 6-for-11 beyond the arc.

Sophomore guard Justin Moore added 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, and sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl contributed 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Golden Eagles once again struggled with turnovers, giving the ball up 17 times. The Wildcats entered Wednesday’s matchup averaging the lowest number of turnovers in the nation and gave the ball away on just four possessions.

“All five of their guys that they start and the guys they bring off the bench — they’re basketball players, they’re positionless basketball players and they have the ability to pass, handle and shoot,” Wojciechowski said. “They take great care of the ball.”

Villanova took advantage of Marquette’s mistakes, scoring 18 points off turnovers. The Golden Eagles scored just three.

Despite the 17-point loss, Jamal Cain was a bright spot for MU. The senior forward scored 15 points and had seven rebounds. He went 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from three.

Sophomore guard D.J. Carton added 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. It was the sixth time this season the Ohio State transfer found himself in double-digits.

Although the Golden Eagles found themselves trailing for nearly four-fifths of the game, they still shot the ball with ease. They shot 51% from the field and a season-high 50% from three.

MU falls to 5-5 on the season and will play their next game on Jan. 2 against Georgetown. The game will be telecasted on CBS Sports Network.

This story was written by Nick Galle. He can be reached at nicholas.galle@marquette.edu or on Twitter @thenickgalle