March 12, 2010
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By Mike Fratto
NEW YORK — Over the past month, Marquette has been playing some its best basketball of the season. But one poorly played half Friday night was all it took to doom the Golden Eagles’ BIG EAST tournament run.
Greg Monroe was three assists away from a triple-double and No. 22 Georgetown beat Marquette 80-57 in a BIG EAST semifinal game at Madison Square Garden. It was the first time all season the Golden Eagles lost by double figures.
“We were as bad as we’ve been all year defensively,” coach Buzz Williams said. “We didn’t play with very much energy at all, considering the stage and considering the implications of the game.”
Georgetown scored the game’s first seven points forcing Marquette to play catch-up all night, and for a while the Golden Eagles were up to the challenge. They erased a 10-point deficit in the first half and trailed only 37-34 at halftime. Then the Hoyas jumped out to a double-digit lead in the early stages of the second half, but Marquette drew to within 48-47 with 13:34 remaining.
But Marquette could never get over the hump, and from there Hoyas were finally able to pull away.
“We were just flat. We weren’t playing very well,” senior Lazar Hayward said. “We couldn’t find a point in the game to just try and turn it around. And that was because we started off very badly, and when you play teams like that, you can’t dig yourself in a hole and get out of it.”
led Marquette (22-11) with 17 points, and was joined in double figures by Maurice Acker
(16) and Hayward (15).
But the Golden Eagles hit a wall midway through the second half. They went more than seven minutes without a field goal while Georgetown (23-9) went on a 14-1 to take control of the game and managed just six points in the final 10:50.
“We’ve never had an issue with offense,” Williams said. “But over the last ten minutes tonight, we were awful, and they were super defensively.”
Marquette contained Monroe earlier this season at Bradley Center, but the Georgetown center had one of his best games of the season Friday night with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists.
“I thought he turned over his right shoulder every single time tonight,” Williams said. “He used his left hand every single time tonight. We didn’t play to the scouting report.”
With Monroe leading the way, the big Georgetown front line thrived inside. The Hoyas scored 46 of their 80 points in the paint and outrebounded Marquette 44-24.
Chris Wright and Jason Clark had 15 points apiece for Georgetown, and Austin Freeman had 12. That trio got most of their scoring done in the second half while Monroe was on the bench and Marquette was struggling to score.
“We’re here because of our effort,” Williams said. “I think our effort maybe has been as good as any team in the country. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished up until this point. It’s way more than most people anticipated. But having said that, I’m disappointed in our effort and disappointed in our execution tonight.”