Road reaction: Xavier 62, Marquette 58
Marquette has protected the home court during conference play, but it simply hasn’t been able to snatch a win on the road.
Like their previous two Big East road contests, the Golden Eagles couldn’t execute down the stretch in a game there for the taking. Marquette coughed up an 11-point lead and fell apart offensively in the second half of a 62-58 loss to Xavier at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.
Marquette is now 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road in Big East games, falling to 10-7 on the season.
1 big moment: While Matt Carlino badly missed a game-tying 3-point attempt with six seconds to play, Luke Fischer missed a point-blank layup that would have given Marquette a one-point lead with 25 seconds left.
Carlino was double teamed but still managed to get enough on a long pass to hit Fischer deep in the paint. The sophomore center, who entered shooting 78.8 percent from the field, made a good post move to set up what seemed to be an automatic layup. Instead, the ball rolled around the rim and out.
Xavier grabbed the rebound and got out in transition, which led to Trevon Bluiett getting fouled. The freshman hit both free throws to put the Musketeers up 61-58 with 15.8 seconds to play.
2 top performers: Remy Abell scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half to lead Xavier’s comeback. The Indiana transfer hit four of his six 3-point attempts after halftime to finish with a career-high five made triples.
Carlino did his best to bail out a struggling Marquette offense, as he finished with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting, hitting six of his nine 3-point attempts. He scored 17 points in the second half, twice tying the game for the Golden Eagles when Xavier had gone up by three.
3 key stats: Turnovers again prevented Marquette from being able to pull out a conference road win, as the Golden Eagles coughed up the ball 11 times in the second half to finish with 18 miscues Saturday. Xavier had 12 first-half turnovers but only turned it over four times in the second half.
Xavier went just 2 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half, but the Musketeers hit eight 3-pointers in the second half. Abell made four of the eight, while teammate Myles Davis connected on three to finish with 14 second-half points.
Led by Abell and Davis, Xavier’s bench outscored Marquette’s reserves, 33-3. The Golden Eagles used just two players off the bench Saturday. Sandy Cohen III finished with three points in 19 minutes, while Steve Taylor Jr. was held scoreless in 17 minutes.
Said: "I’m not into moral victories. We should have won the game. At the start of the second half we had 10 turnovers in 10 minutes. That’s getting old. That’s getting real old . . . I’m disappointed. We have a young team and we have a team that’s coming together. They are figuring out the Big East. We’ve been down this road before. We should learn from that, and we obviously haven’t." — Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski on his postgame radio show on ESPN Milwaukee.
Seen: Sophomore guard Jajuan Johnson did not play Saturday, which raised a few eyebrows considering he entered averaging 21.6 minutes per game and had appeared in all 16 of Marquette’s games.
On his postgame radio show on ESPN Milwaukee, Wojciechowski explained his decision not to play Johnson.
"I didn’t think based on the way Jajuan practiced he was going to be ready to play today," Wojciechowski said. "You have to bring it every day in our program. That’s the standard that we have and will have. If you don’t show that in a practice, I don’t have a lot of confidence in putting you in a game, especially a Big East game."
Steve True, the play-by-play voice of Marquette, then asked Wojciechowski about not playing Johnson leaving the Golden Eagles with just seven players.
"We’re not going to compromise," Wojciechowski said. "Once you start compromising one thing you can start compromising another. Look, there’s a standard that we’re going to have at Marquette, and the standard is you give your best every day."
Next: Marquette’s two-game road trip continues Wednesday when the Golden Eagles travel to New York to face St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST on FOX Sports 1.
St. John’s entered the season as one of the favorites in the Big East, but the Red Storm lost their first three conference games before defeating Providence last Wednesday. St. John’s plays at DePaul on Sunday before hosting Marquette.
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