Marquette falls to under .500 after loss at home to St. John’s

The Marquette men’s basketball team dropped their third straight game Sunday afternoon, falling to the St. John’s Red Storm by a score of 75-73.

It was a slow start once again for the Golden Eagles, who shot 3-for-13 to begin the game. St. John’s was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. With just over 10 minutes left in the first, SJ was shooting 70% from the field and 63% from beyond the arc.

The stellar shooting performance allowed the Red Storm to jump out to an early 15-point lead. Marquette tried to chip away and brought the deficit within eight, but St. John’s recovered and went into halftime leading 46-31.

The early efforts of sophomore guard/forward Julian Champagnie and junior guard/forward Vince Cole were nothing short of impressive. Champagnie scored 15 points in the first half and Cole went on a stretch at the beginning of the game where he scored eight points in just over seven minutes. Cole had a much quieter second half, but Champagnie finished with a game-high 22 points, seven rebounds and one steal.

MU did not go down without a fight, as they came out scorching in the second half. The Golden Eagles went on a 20-5 run in just over five and a half minutes to tie the game at 51. The rally was kickstarted by sophomore guard D.J. Carton, who finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“I thought our guys were not playing with the effort they needed to or with the urgency they needed to (and) we showed that at a higher level in the second half,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I thought our guys fought our brains out in the second half, but 20 minutes isn’t enough.”

Aside from Carton’s efforts coming out of the break, the Marquette backcourt struggled throughout the game. Carton and redshirt senior guard Koby McEwen shot a combined 7-for-23 with seven turnovers.

First-year forward Dawson Garcia and senior forward Theo John took command of the offense and finished as Marquette’s two leading scorers. Garcia had a team-high 20 points and nine rebounds, while John tied his career-high in points with 16 to go along with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

“We’ve not been a great outside shooting team and so, the games we’ve shot the best, our perimeter shots have come from the inside out,” Wojciechowski said. “So we definitely want to get the ball to Theo, or Dawson, or Justin when he’s healthy and play off those guys and I thought Theo and Dawson did a really good job tonight.”

The Red Storm responded with a 10-2 run of their own to take a 61-53 lead. From there, MU hung around and eventually put together a 7-0 run and trailed by just one with about three and a half minutes left. Champagnie hit two free throws following the run to go ahead by three, but senior forward Jamal Cain responded with a dunk.

After its lead was cut to one, first-year guard Posh Alexander made a huge play for SJ, stealing the ball from Carton and scoring in transition. Alexander acted as a Swiss Army knife and stuffed the stat sheet, posting 15 points, six steals, three assists and two rebounds in his 34 minutes on the floor.

Trailing by two, the Golden Eagles had one last chance to get a shot up with 3.2 seconds remaining. Marquette attempted to get an open look off the inbound pass, but turned the ball over with just 0.4 seconds on the clock and St. John’s was able secure the win.

SJ has now won four straight games dating back to Jan. 18. Their last loss was at home against Marquette on Jan. 16.

Now on a three-game losing skid, the Golden Eagles will look to get back to .500 against Butler Tuesday at 4 p.m. Central Standard Time. The game will be telecasted on FS1.

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