Publish Date: 01/30/2020
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
This game tonight is almost a must-win situation for the Musketeers, especially with the next game on the road at red-hot Seton Hall. The first 14 minutes of the game was evenly played, and then Markus Howard woke up and took the over.
The start of the game saw Markus Howard distribute the ball and he got the first three assists in the first few minutes of the game that were converted into 3 three-point makes, two by Sacar Anim and one by Brendan Bailey. The Muskies got a Quentin Goodin sighting as Q finally seems to be healthy. He contributed 7 points in the first half.
Once Howard started hitting his shots though the Musketeers seemed to start really forcing shots and passes on the offensive side of the floor. Howard picked up his second foul with over a little more than three minutes left. Howard leads the Eagles with 14 point and the Musketeers look helpless guarding him, especially in the last ten minutes.
Marquette takes a 39-33 lead into the second half.
Xavier comes out on fire, scoring 7 points in the first three minutes to take the lead at 40-39. Zach Freemantle’s physical play shows that he is getting more comfortable playing in the game and Naji Marshall starts to take over on the offensive end of the floor, willing in two straight baskets to give the Muskies a 46-41 lead with just over 14 minutes to play. Ky Ky Tandy came off the bench and hit a big-time three-pointer right as it looked like Xavier was starting to go into a funk on offense. This extended the Muskies lead to 49-43 with 12 minutes left. Markus Howard went to the locker room with undisclosed issues.
The Muskies had a chance to put this game away, and just like most of this season has gone, Xavier decides to make the game harder than it needs to be, with poor shot selection and careless turnovers, allowing Marquette to cut the lead to 53-48 with 8 minutes remaining.
Howard will not be back, but it won’t matter if the Muskies can’t shot free throws. They are now 4-11 and Marquette has tied the game with 5 minutes left. Neither team can seem to get out of their own way and Xavier leads by 1 at the 3:24 mark. Paul Scruggs hit a huge turn-around jumper to extend Xavier’s lead to 58-53 with 98 seconds left.
Koby McEwan hit a huge three-pointer with 1:18 left in the game to pull the Eagles to 58-56. The Muskies with ten seconds left saw McEwan attempt a three-point field goal only to be fouled by Naji Marshall, McEwan then hit three straight free throws to put Xavier behind the eight ball down 3 points with 9 seconds left.
Naji Marshall saves the day, at least for the time being by nailing a 25-footer with two seconds left to send the game into overtime.
The first 4 minutes of the overtime was controlled by Eagles guard McEwan who it seemed could have shot the ball out of his ass and it would have gone in. Xavier played undisciplined but only trailed by 2 with 1:30 left. Naji Marshall hit both free throws to tie the game. Jason Carter missed a fairly easy shot and McEwan missed a shot at the buzzer to send the game into the second overtime.
Quentin Gooden gave the Muskies the lead at 71-70 with a baseline three-pointer with 3:30 left in the game. It has become painfully obvious by now that the Big East officials assigned to this game are too old to keep up. Anim answered with a three to put the Eagles up 73-71.
A flagrant foul on Marquette sends Jason Carter to the line whereas usual the Muskies miss both. Quentin Goodin follows that up with a big-time three-pointer to put Xavier back up 74-73. Then the officials decide to screw up perfectly good basketball game by calling a terrible foul against Xavier. Eagles hit one out of two to tie the game at 74. The teams exchanged baskets and enter the last minute tied at 76.
Anim connects on a three-point shot from the wing to put the Eagles up 3 with 40 seconds left. Freemantle hit a three to pull the Musketeers to within one but it was not to be as Xavier falls short 84-82.