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Kirkwood 64 Marquette 58

January 4, 2014
Marquette Mustang Basketball

Tonight’s contest between the Kirkwood Pioneers and the Marquette Mustangs found two teams coming off very different finishes at the always competitive Meramec Holiday Festival.  Where Marquette was bounced from the tournament after just two games, Kirkwood went on to finish 3rd in the 16-team field.  The Mustangs knew they had their work cut out for them entering the contest against a very athletic and talented Pioneer team regarded as one of St. Louis’ best high school basketball squads.  Marquette battled all night long and displayed the heart and effort it takes to compete with bigger, faster, and stronger teams.  The visiting team had their chances in the 4th quarter, but couldn’t quite get over the hump as the Mustangs fell 64-58.

The first quarter started slow for both teams as neither could find the basket in the early going.  Marquette missed their first 5 shots to start the game before finding nylon on a 3-pointer to get the scoring going.  The Mustangs would score on their next 3 out of 4 possessions and 5 of their last 8 possessions to lead at the end of 1 quarter of play, 13-9.  More of the same happened in the 2nd quarter, where Marquette lead 20-16 with 3:49 left to play.  But Kirkwood would go on a 10-2 run to close out the half due to some missed opportunities by the Mustangs around the basket.

The 2nd half saw another slow start for Marquette offensively.  Although the Mustangs would get the looks, they just couldn’t connect as the visitors shot an abysmal 3-17 from the field and 1-7 from behind the arc while committing 5 turnovers.  Kirkwood would outscore Marquette 13-8 in the frame, and as the quarter ended with a score of 39-30, the Pioneers looked as though they had gained enough momentum to put Marquette away for good.  At the start of the 4th, Kirkwood went on another run to increase their lead to 48-34.  At this point, the outcome looked inevitable.  But the Mustangs finally began to hit a few shots, get a few stops, and chipped away at the lead.  With only 3 minutes to go on the game, Marquette found themselves down 52-41.  The Mustangs would connect on 4 3-pointers down the stretch and close the gap.  With only 1:33 left, Marquette found themselves down by 6 at 55-49.  More fouls for Marquette meant more trips to the line for Kirkwood.  The Pioneers would end up shooting 15-23 from the charity stripe in the 4th quarter to keep the Mustangs from overtaking the lead.  With only 31 seconds to go, the Mustangs came within 2 points at 60-58, but two huge free-throws from the Pioneer point-guard would destroy any hopes the Mustangs had of pulling off the improbable come-from-behind upset.

The Mustangs hope to bring the same focus, effort, and intensity to next week’s conference opener at Lindbergh High School Tuesday, January 7th.  Tip is set for 7:00.

For game stats, click HERE.

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