Marquette’s Carlino after narrow loss to Georgetown: ‘This one hurt’

Marquette guard Matt Carlino dribbles the ball in front of Georgetown forward Aaron Bowen (23) during the first half at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday.  

Jeff Hanisch/Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE — Marquette came less than an inch away from putting the frustration of two straight close losses behind itself.

The officials ruled Matt Carlino had his toe on the line when he released a shot with 0.9 seconds, a call which they stuck with after a three-minute review.

With the 15,713 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center going crazy thinking Marquette had won the game, the Golden Eagles had to quickly transition from the high of what would have been a game-winning shot to the realization they had five more minutes to play.

Georgetown closed the extra session on a 9-0 run to survive with a 95-85 victory, sending Marquette to its third straight frustrating loss.

"For some reason, I didn’t think they were going to call it a 3," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "That’s why you didn’t see me jump up and down. I was mentally prepared to go to overtime. I didn’t think they were going to call it a 3.

"Our kids showed tremendous fight and heart. I thought we played a good basketball game. In order to beat Georgetown you have to play a great game."

Joshua Smith hit two free throws to give Georgetown an 81-79 lead with 5.9 seconds to play. With Marquette having used its final timeout prior to the second free-throw attempt, Carlino took the ball the length of the floor.

He pulled up at a similar spot to where he beat Creighton with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but this time he was just a millimeter too close to the hoop for another game winner.

"They kind of just took away the drive so I pulled up and made the shot," Carlino said. "They reviewed it and we had another chance in overtime.

Related content

"I kind of thought it was a three from where I was at on the floor, but I wasn’t really looking at the line."

Marquette came in having dropped four Big East games by a combined 16 points. The Golden Eagles had shots to win or tie in the final seconds in each of their prior two losses, falling by four points at Xavier and three points at St. John’s.

This game was different than any of those.

The second-lowest scoring team (60.0 points per game) in the Big East entering play Saturday, Marquette had failed to reach 60 points in each of its four conference losses.

A much-improved Georgetown team shredded Marquette’s zone for 45 points by halftime, the most the Golden Eagles have allowed in a first half this season. The Hoyas kept the pressure on in the second half and had 81 at the end of regulation.

Thanks to 13 made 3-pointers and 26-point afternoons from Carlino and Duane Wilson, Marquette’s usually lackluster offense was able to keep pace.

Maybe it was because of how well they played offensively or possibly because it ended up being another tantalizingly close loss, but this one seemed to shake up Wojciechowski more than the rest.

"I’m really proud of my team," Wojciechowski said. "I was proud to be their coach today. We don’t make excuses. I’ll never make excuses, but our kids are fighters. I thought we not only fought today, but I thought we executed well. That at times has been the piece that has been missing. I’m proud to be these guys’ coach."

Now the question becomes how Marquette will respond after yet another heartbreaker. The media isn’t allowed into the locker room following the game, but Carlino agreed when asked if it was a combination of frustration and disappointment.

"It’s a little bit of everything," Carlino said. "Everything you’d expect from a team that’s playing everyone to the wire every game. This one hurt a little bit more because it was at home, I think too. We don’t ever expect to lose at home. We’re just going to keep battling."

Marquette has definitely competed with everyone it has played this season, but the cumulative effect of so many close losses will test the fight the young and undermanned Golden Eagles have showed all season.

"The way we played today would beat most teams in the league," Wojciechowski said. "We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. There’s not one team in our league that is going to throw us a pity party, and we’re not going to throw ourselves a pity party. We’re going to represent the jersey to the best of our ability each day. We’re going to try to continue to improve and make the most of the eight guys we have on our team."

Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter