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Uncharacteristic Late-Game Pitfalls Result in OT Loss to Webster Groves

February 19, 2013
Marquette Mustang Basketball

With a lead that lasted all but about a minute of the regulation time in tonight’s home contest with Webster (the newly-minted Missouri #10-ranked squad), a chance to put the game away late was all the Mustangs could ask for as an opportunity to set a new school record for consecutive home wins was within their grasp.  Unfortunately, a combination of poor free throw shooting and ballhandling by the home squad and the usual superior Statesmen effort was enough for Webster to h and MHS its first home loss of the season.

The first quarter was as well-played as a fan could ask for.  Both teams were producing good looks at the bucket, were taking care of the ball and defending well.  Max Sidney, starting his first career game with his father Paul in the stands watching his son play for the last time before heading back to duty in Afghanistan, was huge early.  The 6-8 senior banged home the first two buckets for the Mustangs, the second off an offensive board.  A driving lay-in by Dillon Jones combined with a Brooks Gerrity three and late mid-range jumper and Tanner Stabenow’s bucket in the final :30 all were enough to give the home team a 13-11 lead after a quarter.

That short jumper by Gerrity late in the first began an impressive streak for the Mustangs.  Eight of Marquette’s next nine shots beginning with Brooks’ shot would all splash home (two Jones shots-including a three-point play, a Sam Ploeger 17-footer, another Jones drive and two threes-one each by Stabenow and Gerrity).  Only two late turnovers would mar what was an impressive first half as the Mustangs led it 28-18 heading into the intermission.

Matt Hink would convert twice to open the third and after a Dillon Jones pull-up jumper and two Hink free throws, Marquette 36-23 to mark their biggest lead.  The Mustangs would have three consecutive empty trips, all of which could have pushed the lead to 15 more and establish control.  Unfortunately, two turnovers and an ill-advised shot would give the Statesmen life.  After Hink’s two free throws, only two Gerrity buckets would separate the Mustangs from eight fruitless trips down the floor.  Even with all that, the late Gerrity jumper meant that Marquette would have an eight-point advantage (40-32) going into the fourth quarter.

At the 5:00 mark of the game, the Mustangs led it 45-36 and looked to be in control with Webster just having gone over the limit on fouls.  A senior-dominated team that had made it their business to close out games all season long inexplicably became unraveled.  The last nine possessions of the game saw the Mustangs go to the line eight times and only hit four.  Even with all that and the Statesmen closing the gap, Marquette would grab a board with 12 ticks left on the clock and call timeout with the ball deep in the Webster end of the floor.  With the ball safely inbounded after a timeout, an errant, unneeded pass went astray.  Webster would grab the loose ball, attack the basket and score to tie.  Still, with just over seven seconds to go, MHS had plenty of time and pushed it up the floor to get a short jumper that caromed in and out and for the first time this season, the Mustangs would go to overtime. 

Webster scored on their opening possession and would not relinquish the lead.  Two more free throws for Marquette went off the rim in a chance to tie and that would mark their last opportunity.  The Statesmen would hit their free throws late and become the first visiting squad to win in nine opportunities as Marquette’s eight-game home winning streak over two seasons (tying the record set by the combined 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 squads) would come to an end.

Barring weather problems, the home regular season slate is to come to a close this Thursday, February 21 with a varsity-only, 5:30 Senior Night tip-off.

Leading Scorers:  Brooks Gerrity-15, Dillon Jones-13, Matt Hink-9.  Leading Rebounders:  Hink-8, Jones-5.  Leading Assists:  Chris Lenzen-3.

For game stats-click HERE

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