Critical Collapse

Golden Eagles blow 17 point second-half lead in 73-70 loss at Georgetown.

Washington, D.C.—Last January, Marquette went into Louisville and blew a late 18-point lead in the final 5:44 to lose to the Cardinals.

This January, the Golden Eagles managed to do it again.

After leading by 15 points in the second half with 11:44 left in the game, and by 17 just a minute and a half earlier, Marquette (12-3, 1-1) lost 73-70 to the Georgetown Hoyas at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

Hollis Thompson's three-point shot with 22 seconds left gave the Hoyas the lead for good. The junior scored eight points in the final 3:19 of the game, including two threes.

Thompson's game-winner came from the left corner, and was about as contested as possible, which Marquette head coach Buzz Williams pointed out afterward.

"I thought our guys did exactly what we would want them to do," Williams said. "It was a perfect defensive possession in a lot of ways. He made the shot though."

The game started out looking like it was bound to be a high scoring affair, with both teams scoring at will. Just five minutes into the first half Marquette was already up 16-14.

Things settled down, until senior forward Jae Crowder threw down a dunk on a fast break with 5:43 left in the first, which forced a timeout from Hoyas Head Coach John Thompson III.

Thompson's timeout didn't do much for his team, as the Golden Eagles finished the half on a 17-5 run, heading into the break up 43-29 over their hosts.

The pattern continued in the second half, as Marquette led by at least 12 points for the first 10:11 of the second. Senior Georgetown guard Jason Clark hit a three to make the lead 10 with 9:49 left, and the Hoyas never turned back.

After scoring 16 in the game's first five minutes, Marquette scored just 10 in the game's final ten, as Georgetown went on a rampant run where it seemed they couldn't be stopped.

The Hoyas shot an unheard of 76% in the second half (16-21), and were 63% on the game (27-43).

The Golden Eagles forced 17 turnovers on the night, but with the Hoyas shooting as well as they did, it seemed like it was either force a turnover or let Georgetown score.

"You can force a team into 17 turnovers. That's good," Williams said, "but the problem with that is if you didn't force them into a turnover, they were scoring. That's the difference."

Also in the second half, Coach Williams had to go without junior guard Junior Cadougan on the court because of defense. That meant that sophomore and freshman guards Vander Blue and Todd Mayo were primarily running the point. Mayo had 16 points, but also 6 turnovers, in his first Big East game on the road. His coach thought that he did himself well with the 16 points, and chose to focus on the positives instead of the turnovers.

"First game as a freshman on the road (in conference play), to have 16 points," Williams said. "Six turnovers is not good, but I thought he was really good."

Hoyas senior center Henry Sims was a big part of Georgetown's resurgence, scoring 13 points, while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists, which showed how the hosts dominated the paint in the second half. Coach Williams noted that Sims was just a role player for the Hoyas last season, but this season was the focal point of Marquette's game plan.

"In our preparation, I thought he was the key to their team," said Williams. "I think within how they play, he's their point guard. Everything runs through him, regardless of whether he catches it on the block or whether he catches it at the elbow."

Marquette will have little time to recover from the loss, as they take on the No. 1 team in the country, Syracuse, at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

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