Men’s basketball upsets No. 11 Villanova on the road

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Redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis drives to the basket in Marquette men’s basketball’s 57-54 upset win over No. 11 Villanova Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Following a thrilling win at home Saturday against then-No. 20 Seton Hall, the Golden Eagles traveled to Villanova, Pennsylvania to matchup with the No. 11 ranked Wildcats Wednesday night.

And if victories on the road are in their sight during this tough stretch to help their March resume, the Golden Eagles have to continue finding ways to do that.

Marquette did just that Wednesday night, upsetting Villanova by a score of 57-54 at Finneran Pavilion.

It is the first time the Wildcats have lost at Finneran Pavilion since Nov. 17 2018 against Furman University. Additionally, it is the first time in program history Marquette has won on Villanova’s campus.

“We knew coming in it was going to be a tough coming into this place,” redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis told CBS Sports Network’s AJ Ross after the game. “We knew that they were going to retire Josh Hart’s jersey but we wanted to leave our legacy in this place. We haven’t won a game here, a lot of teams haven’t won here, and we just wanted to be the ones to make history.”

Redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis sealed the deal hitting a contested 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left which was followed by Marquette’s havoc defense stopping Justin Moore’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds.

“I told the guys it was a little stretch where I didn’t touch the ball, “Lewis told Ross. “I feel like I’m unselfish enough to make plays and get my teammates open. I just wanted the ball in that play and I just happened to make a good shot.”

Lewis finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 shooting from the 3-point line. It is the 17th time this season that he has finished with double-digit figures.

It was a statement victory for a Golden Eagles team that began conference play 0-3 and a team who has recently found its offense during its now five-game winning streak. Marquette used a 7-0 run over the last 1:56 to edge out the 57-54 win.

The Golden Eagles came out establishing themselves early on in the first half as back-to-back 3-pointers from Justin Lewis and redshirt first-year Tyler Kolek catalyzed an early 13-9.

That lead would not last for long as Villanova would respond with a 9-0 towards the end of the half to take a 29-25 lead with 1:41 left after back-to-back baskets from graduate student guard Collin Gillespie.

With seconds winding down in the half, graduate student guard Darryl Morsell hit a driving jumper to give Marquette a 30-29 halftime lead.

Villanova came out of the halftime break with a 4-0 run to take a 33-30 lead into the under-16 media timeout. After the timeout, redshirt junior guard Greg Elliott splashed a 3-pointer on the catch and shoot off the pass from Lewis to tie the game at 33-33.

Both teams would exchange baskets over the next few minutes before the Wildcats found their groove and Justin Moore hitting a 3-pointer to extend a 12-0 run forcing Smart to call a timeout.

As has the season trend been, the Golden Eagles came out of their timeout making adjustments. 3-pointers from Elliott and first-year forward David Joplin sparked a quick 6-0 response for Marquette to bring the deficit to three, 45-42.

Marquette would get within one on a 3-pointer from Elliott in transition. He would finish the night with four 3-pointers.

The Golden Eagles didn’t give up as a defensive stance with 1:21 left handed the ball back to Marquette after Elliott and Morsell fought for the jump ball. Lewis would then score a layup inside the paint to tie the game at 54-54.

Villanova missed a hookshot jumper from redshirt junior forward Eric Dixon with 39 seconds left, handing the ball back to Marquette. Lewis would hit the winning 3-pointer after almost falling to the floor after tripping on the handoff from Kolek.

In addition to his 21 points, Lewis added seven rebounds, two assists and a steal on the night.

Elliott finished the night with 14 points, all of which came in the second half, and two rebounds. Morsell would add 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Marquette (13-6, 5-3 BIG EAST) will now return to Fiserv Forum to host No. 20 Xavier Sunday at 1 p.m. CST.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.