“I’m proud of my team,” said head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “Obviously, we wish we had some opportunities to celebrate during the year, but I thought my guys fought through adverse situations throughout the year.”
From the opening tip this one belonged to Villanova. On practically the first touch of the ball, Darrun Hillard drained a three to put the Wildcats on the board. After a Derrick Wilson layup, Dylan Ennis nailed a three to make it 6-2.
[Derrick Wilson #12 had 11 pts and 9 assts in his final game at MU.]
The Wilson bucket would be the squads last until the 15:25 mark, when Duane Wilson capped off an explosive drive with a layup. With a little more than 15 minutes to play, Nova held a 13-4 advantage.
The sides would trade buckets for the next couple of possessions. Marquette would begin to make their first run in this game off a Steve Taylor Jr. three. JaJuan Johnson would also hit one from down to make it 18-14 with 12 minutes to go. Taylor would cap the 8-0 run with a bucket to make it a one-possession game.
However, that is as close as the Golden Eagles would get to the Wildcats in this one. Over the course of the next few minutes, Nova would answer with an 8-0 run of their own to extend the lead to 10 with just a little more than nine to go.
“We wanted to try to limit their threes,” said Wojciechowski. “They were great, and they shot it great.”
As elite teams do, Jay Wright’s crew kicked it into that extra gear. This push came courtesy of Josh Hart, who was responsible for 14 of Nova’s 39 first half points. 11 of these came in just five minutes of play at the mid part of the half. Hart would finish his perfect half with a three in the final minute to push the Wildcat advantage to 18.
Marquette would go into the half down 39-21.
After a 26 point performance last night, Matt Carlino had zero points in the first half. The guard did not notch his first bucket until the 17:30 mark. He would finish the game with the afternoon with just five points.
“They double teamed me the whole game,” said Matt Carlino. “They were doubling off the screens and everything so that made it very tough to get catches and open looks.”
The result was put out of question when Daniel Ochefu posterized Luke Fischer to extend the lead to 46-25 with a little under 15 minutes to play.
As the season dwindled down, Steve Wojciechowski looked to honor the senior class.
“Less than 12 months ago, their life changed a lot,” said Wojciechowski. “When life throws you curveballs at you, you have the choice in how you handle it, and I thought our seniors handled it as well as you possibly can.”
With 2:23 to go, Derrick Wilson was subbed out for the final time. He finished his night with 11 points. However, his impact on and off the court has anchored the Golden Eagles through the program’s most turbulent years in recent memory.
A minute later, Matt Carlino left the game ending his season and his Marquette career.
“Its tough to realize that you’re not going to play college basketball anymore,” said Carlino.
[#10 Juan Anderson left the MU lineup for the final time.]
The final exit was Juan Anderson. Who left the contest with 31 ticks to go and was greeted with a big embrace by his first year head coach.
As the clock hit zero, the result became official. The Golden Eagles would fall 84-49 to Villanova in the Big East quarterfinal.
Marquette ends the year with a 13-19 record overall, and 4-14 in conference.
“I’m proud of a lot of things,” said Wojciechowski. “We also have a lot of things we need to improve upon. So we’ll get to work on that right away.”