In the final 6:55 of last night’s 73-65 win for No. 15 Creighton over No. 19 Marquette, MU efficiently made four of its seven three-pointers taken.
Before that, it took 26 tries to make the same number of threes.
That alone goes a long way in explaining why Marquette (17-8, 7-6 BIG EAST) lost its second-straight game Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.
Senior Markus Howard, who set the BIG EAST’s all-time career scoring record in Marquette’s previous game against Villanova and was honored with a visit by the previous record holder, Syracuse alum Lawrence Moten, before the game, struggled to find the touch as coach Greg McDermott and Creighton (21-6, 10-4 BIG EAST) ran multiple defenders at him all night long. Before hitting 2-of-3 threes in the final stretch, the nation’s leading scorer was just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc and only had six of his eventual 13 points entering the final seven minutes of the game.
Fellow senior Sacar Anim and junior forward Theo John tried to buoy the MU offense in Howard’s stead. Anim lead Marquette’s scorers with 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting and John earned a double-double by making all six of his field-goal attempts to tally 12 points with 10 rebounds. However, Anim was just 2-for-9 from beyond the arc, and transfer guard Koby McEwen went 0-for-6. Marquette, by Anim’s admission, settled for too many jump shots and largely failed to attack the basket.
An 8-0 first-half run put the Bluejays up, 27-17, and they went into halftime with a 32-22 advantage. Marquette was able to go on a 16-6 run to start the second half and tie things back up at 38, but Creighton wouldn’t trail again after that. Marcus Zegarowski keyed Creighton’s second-half offense, scoring seven of his 17 points as Creighton responded to MU’s equalizing surge within an 18-5 stretch to give the Bluejays their largest lead of the night at that 6:55 mark. While Marquette would finally start hitting shots after that, Creighton almost always had an answer, including two Ty-Shon Alexander three-pointers that came immediately on the heels of Marquette baskets. Alexander led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-21 shooting, while also being credited for holding down Howard defensively by McDermott.
The Bluejays have won their last four, eight of their last nine and, in the last month, three road games over top-20 ranked opponents. They now sit just a half a game behind No. 16 Seton Hall in the BIG EAST standings, though the Bluejays defeated the Pirates, 87-82, last week in New Jersey.
Marquette, meanwhile, now stands tied with two other teams for fourth place in the conference. It’ll face one of those teams, Providence, in its next game, 11 a.m. CST Saturday in Rhode Island. The Friars, however, will have removed themselves from the stalemate after facing Georgetown tomorrow night.
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