No. 8 Marquette tops No. 25 Georgetown 94-82
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Having taken down yet another of the Big East’s big names, No. 8 Marquette goes into February undefeated in the conference and oozing confidence.
The Golden Eagles used a second-half surge to put away No. 25 Georgetown 94-82 on Saturday—the fifth straight loss for the reeling Hoyas. The victory leaves Marquette (19-2, 8-0), tied for the conference lead with No. 7 Louisville.
First-year coach Buzz Williams called the Golden Eagles a “really, really elite” team, but meant it mainly as a compliment to their toughness rather than their skills.
“I’ve been incredibly hard, more so than you would know, on that group of guys,” Williams said. “And I am still incredibly hard on that group of guys and they respond every day.”
Wesley Matthews said the Golden Eagles have been confident all season but are having more fun than ever—then showed it by trading friendly barbs with teammate Jerel McNeal in the postgame news conference about which player was having a better season.
“When you put a lot of work into something and you see the benefits, you can’t help but have fun,” Matthews said.
McNeal scored 26 points in perhaps his most complete game of the season, adding 11 assists, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks while committing only three turnovers.
“I don’t know that you can find a better (stat) line,” Williams said.
Matthews scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half and Lazar Hayward added 23.
It was another tough loss for Georgetown (12-8, 3-6).
Coach John Thompson III said he’s seeing progress from his young team—just not enough of it.
“It’s hard, because we want to win,” Thompson said. “We’ve got to win. So it’s hard to sit and analyze and say we made progress. And we did.”
DaJuan Summers, the Hoyas’ leading scorer, played despite injuring his foot earlier in the week and tied a season high with 22 points.
Thompson wasn’t sure Summers would be able to play until pregame warmups, and Summers said afterward that his foot was “definitely not” 100 percent and wasn’t sure when it would be again.
“I definitely don’t know,” Summers said. “I’m playing, so it’s fine.”
Marquette took control with a 12-2 run midway through the second half, capped by a three-point play by backup guard Jimmy Butler to give Marquette a 10-point lead with 11:03 remaining.
With the game tied at 52 after a fastbreak dunk by Georgetown’s Jason Clark, Hayward answered with a jumper to kick off the decisive run.
McNeal followed with a 3-pointer, and Matthews came up with a steal and a fast break dunk to extend the run to 7-0.
Greg Monroe scored inside for Georgetown, but McNeal answered with a driving layup. After a Georgetown miss, Butler scored on a putback and hit the free throw to give the Golden Eagles a 64-54 lead.
Georgetown tried to put together a late rally, as Jessie Sapp hit a 3-pointer and Summers scored inside to cut the lead to eight with 1:03 left. But Marquette went 6-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute.
Marquette made 30 of 38 free throws for the game, while Georgetown was 8-for-13.
“It’s tough,” Summers said of the free throw disparity. “But as a player, you’ve just got to figure out ways to combat that.”
Summers injured his foot in a loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday. But he was on the floor for the opening tip and scored the Hoyas’ first eight points of the game, including two 3-pointers. Summers took a hard fall to the floor on a loose-ball foul by Matthews with 8:50 left in the first half, but remained in the game and scored a team-high 13 points in the first half.
“He wasn’t too hurt,” Williams noted.
And if Williams needs something to keep his high-flying team grounded, he can point to the fact that they won despite allowing Georgetown to shoot 56.1 percent.
“We can’t do that,” Matthews said. “We can’t have that any more.”