Game story: Gtown 65 MU 59

It is impossible to escape a Steve Wojociechowski post-game press conference and not hear the phrase “learning experience”. The 2014-2015 season has been all about gaining experience for the players and the coaching staff. After an impressive victory at home against Providence, the Golden Eagles dropped their second conference game to Georgetown by a score of 65 to 59.

“The vast majority of our team has never played in Big East play in big games on the road,” said head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “Some of that is youth and inexperience. We have to tighten that up."

Georgetown scored the first five points of the game, before Duane Wilson got Marquette on the board on a drive to the basket. After trading foul shots, D’Vauntes Smith- Rivera drained a three to give the Hoyas a four point advantage early. Carlino would answer a possession later by draining a three to tie it up at eight.

Marquette would grab their first and only lead of the game on a Derrick Wilson three pointer at the 12:31 mark in the first half. Wilson had five points in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, he would not score again the rest of the night, but would be a key contributor on the defensive end. Tuesday night was Wilson’s 99thconsecutive game for Golden Eagles.

The Hoyas would take the lead back 22 seconds later, and would extend their advantage to five. Carlino countered with a pretty fade away jumper from the baseline to pull the Golden Eagles to within three. The next Marquette possession Juan Anderson would drain a three to tie things up at 22.

Up until the five-minute mark in the first half, the Golden Eagles were shooting 71 percent from the field, but failed to take a substantial lead in the contest. Marquette's best opportunity came on a fast break layup by Sandy Cohen that rimmed out and Georgetown gained possession. The Hoyas made MU pay for not taking advantage of their opportunity when Smith-Rivera hit a three pointer to extend the lead to eight with just under two play in the half. Carlino would make it a five-point game a series later, and the Golden Eagles would head to the locker room down 32 to 27.

The Hoyas began the 2nd half on a 10-4 run, to push the lead to 11 with just under 15 minutes to go in the game.

From that point on, Marquette clawed back into the contest by using defense to create offense. The defensive effort was highlighted by freshman Sandy Cohen jumping a Georgetown pass that led to a JaJuan Johnson lay up to make it a two-possession game. The next few trips down the floor, the Hoyas either turned it over or couldn’t grab the rebound, which allowed the Golden Eagles to shrink the hole to 2 with just under nine minutes to go in the game.

“The guys who came off our bench gave us a big lift,” said Wojciechowski. “When we were down 11 that was the group — Steve Taylor, Sandy and JJ, the three guys off our bench — that got us back in the game.”

The Golden Eagles were never able to take control down the stretch, due largely to sloppy ball handling and good interior rebounding by Georgetown to limit Marquette’s second chance opportunities.

“To win on the road, any game in the Big East, but especially on the road you can't have those turnovers,” said Wojciechowski. “I thought that was the story of the game.”

The teams traded buckets until the final buzzer, which saw Marquette on the wrong side of a 65 to 59 score line. With the loss, Marquette falls to 9-6 on the year and 1-2 in conference.

UCLA transfer Joshua Smith was a big reason why Marquette fell into a double-digit deficit. The senior overpowered forward Steve Taylor Jr., when Fischer was subbed out due to foul trouble. Smith would finish his night with a double-double, tallying 12 points and 10 boards, with seven of his rebounds coming on the offensive end.

"He's huge,” said junior forward Steve Taylor Jr. “He's a massive person, so it was a fight guarding him down there."

Marquette’s big had a solid night, as Luke Fischer went six for six from the field. The center finished with 13 points, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Despite the solid performance, Fischer found himself in foul trouble for the third consecutive game.

“It’s a lot more physical in conference play, and I’m trying to embrace that as much as I can,” said Fisher. “If I give a hard foul on someone, that just happens. Nothings going to change (in how I approach the game).”

Marquette would finish the game shooting 46 percent from the field and 29 percent from behind the arc. Carlino led all scorers with 16 points, though many of them did come when the game was out of reach.

Steve Wojciechowski and the Golden Eagles return to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on January 14th looking to get their second conference victory over the Creighton Blue Jays.

Quotes from Wojo, Fischer, and Taylor

STEVE WOJCIECHOWSKI

"I thought our guys played really hard against an outstanding and well-coached teamThey scored a third of their points off our turnovers. For the most part this season we've had a good assist-to-turnover ratio. For some reason on the road in our first two Big East that hasn't been the case and we paid the price for it."

"We've played a lot of zone this year and 2-3 has been good for us. When you have eight guys that's been a good defense for us. Look, we held them to two field goals in the last 16 minutes of the game, so I have a hard time faulting our defense. The only thing I'd say is we've got to learn to play our defense without fouling. They scored really either on our turnovers or we were fouling them. We've got to play our defense without fouling."

"Luke's a really good player and continues to get more comfortable each time out. We have to keep figuring out ways to get him the ball in areas that he can work."

"The guys who came off our bench gave us a big lift. When we were down 11 that was the group — Steve Taylor, Sandy and JJ, the three guys off our bench — that got us back in the game. We can't have those miscues, especially at such critical times."

"One of the things in our zone that we try to do is keep it out. We know they're a team that can really score in the paint, especially when Josh Smith gets it by the basket. He's a load. Overall we held them to 40% shooting, 22% from 3. The ones we can't afford to give up are the ones where a team doesn't have to play against our set defense and that occurs when you turn it over or you foul."

"I think they're continuing to grow as players. They're growing and they're getting better and they've been really active. We've really needed their contributions and they've come through for us."

"You continue to talk about it and drill it and in practice when it happens you correct it. A lot of it comes down to our guys really want to do well. The vast majority of our team has never played in Big East play in big games on the road. Some of that is youth and inexperience. We have to tighten that up."

"We had some really bad turnovers against their zone. They're long and they play good defense and they're very physical. We just had some real unforced turnovers."

STEVE TAYLOR JR

"I just stayed poised and didn't allow them to speed me up. I played within myself, not trying to do too much."

"I don't really know. We just come in and play hard and do everything Wojo asks of us."

"We're more of a link now. At first it was like everybody for themselves. Now it's more of a team defense and there's more talk, more activity going on in the back. I feel like together we're playing smarter, but we've got to get over that hump to get that win."

"It doesn't effect me. The coach felt like the adjustment that was made was needed so I'm riding with it the whole way."

"I've just got to slow down. I feel like I'm speeding myself up too much and when I slow down the game is much easier for me."

"I feel like with Luke in the lineup I can play my natural position. I've just got to keep at it and keep grinding."

"He's huge. He's a massive person, so it was a fight guarding him down there."

"We can't hang our heads. We've just got to take this loss and deal with it and learn from it and get the next one."

Luke Fischer

Fischer “It’s always tough to play on the road and I think we have to get over that and grow up a little bit. A lot of these guys its their first times playing on the road, especially myself. It’s an learning experience, and we just need to learn from it“

Fischer on turnovers: “It was a problem we had the whole game. A lot of our turnovers weren’t forced, they were just dumb and on our shoulders. They scored a ton of points off our mistakes. That’s something that we have to prove on the road, cause especially at home, we take care of the ball and it works out well. It is something that we need to get better at.”

Fischer on adjusting to Big East play: “Just keep doing the same thing. If they keep double teaming me, its an easy kick out. If I have a one on one, I know I have a somewhat easy path to the basket. It all depends. If its my shot I’ll take it. If not, I’ll find somebody else to take it.”

Fischer on his athleticism vs Smith: “

“He’s a big guy. He’s hard to get around and its hard to get a post up on him,” said center Luke Fischer. “I just tried my best to try to get a touch with him in there. I don’t know how well that worked out.”

Fischer on Hoyas D: “They pack it in. If it seemed like it was going to go to the post they were all around the post ready for it.”

Fischer on foul trouble: “It’s a lot more physical in conference play, and I’m trying to embrace that as much as I can. If I give a hard foul on someone, that just happens. Nothings going to change (in how I approach the game).”

Fischer on how the teams changed since his arrival; “The floor has been able to spread a lot better. We have been able to get alot more open shots. As long as we continue to do that, we should win some big games.”

Fischer on morale “We’re good. We know we probably should have won these last two road games. We definitely had our shorts to do it. Like I said earlier, it’s a learning experience. We just have to get through that.

Fischer on Wojo’s approach “He’s kept it even. He knows what I’ve been saying. A lot of us haven’t been in this situation before and he knows he has to help us through it. He’s trying his best. He went through it as a player, and this is his first time going through it as a head coach.”


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