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Omen Bodes Well for Mustangs in Victory Over Savannah
January 30, 2011Marquette Mustang Basketball
At halftime of the consolation semi-final of the Eldon Tournament (being played just prior to the Mustangs' meeting with Savannah in the championship semis), the officials at the event were conducting their "Win $100 Half-Court Shot Challenge" as they had done for each and every game of the tourney. Mustang Feeder Team member Jack Matzen's raffle ticket number was called and the eighth-grader stepped into the back of the center-circle and launched a perfect arching shot that caught nothing but net. The big make brought his high school Mustang brethren to their feet and maybe helped a little in propelling the older Mustangs to a semi-final victory over Savannah in a 38-37 win.
The Savages (from just north of St. Joseph) nailed a three on their first trip to take an early lead before Marquette answered with buckets by Matt Hink (on an offensive put-back and Ryan Rosburg on four consecutive makes on four straight possessions. A lone Savannah bucket was all the Mustangs would allow and at the end of a quarter after Rosburg's buzzer-beater tip-in was counted, Marquette led it 10-5.
Pace was the name of the game in this contest. With Savannah looking to take their sweet time and look for a great look on each trip and the Mustangs a traditionally pro-shot selection team themselves, opportunities to score were fewer and farther between than an average high school game. The first half featured only nineteen possessions for each team (an average high school game features between 50 and 70 total). After a Garrett Roberts trey to open the second quarter (the frosh had missed the previous day's game with a bout of the stomach flu), the game bogged down some. Roberts was able to nail a drive-in jumper but was followed up by only a Rosburg bucket and two Lanard Williams free throws the rest of the half. Seven Mustang turnovers (six unforced) loomed large in the half just under 1/3 of each trip ending in no shot attempt for MHS. With the turnover bug, the Mustangs considered themselves lucky to be leading 19-16 at halftime.
Chris Lenzen opened up the third quarter with a deep three from the left corner to double the Marquette lead. Unfortunately, four straight Mustang attempts went astray before Jordan Singer hit on consecutive attempts (one a 15-footer at the free throw line and the other a 20-footer for three in front of his own bench). Another Rosburg bucket inside off a Singer assist and a Singer lay-in off a great hustle play by Garrett Roberts to dislodge the ball from a Savage guard were enough to help the Mustangs extend their lead to 31-22 after three.
The fourth quarter was a tale of two segments. About a minute-and-a-half into the quarter, Rosburg found Zack Ploeger on a nifty dish over the Savannah interior defense for a lay-up and Rosburg himself scored moments later and the Mustang lead swelled to nine once again after the Savages had trimmed it to five. Unfortunately for Marquette, the final nine possessions of the game featured only two field goal attempts and NO makes. Add into the fact that the Kelly-clad Mustangs hit on only 3/6 shots from the charity stripe and a recipe for late-game trouble was brewing. With 1:36 left on the clock though, Marquette was holding what seemed to be a comfortable eight-point lead in a game that was certainly not considered an offensive-fest. A Savage three followed by a Mustang turnover followed by another Savannah trey under heavy pressure and the aforementioned MHS free throw woes made a trip to the free throw line by Mitch Cox with his team up two and only 19 ticks left on the clock loom large. The junior guard calmly canned both to put his team up four. ANOTHER Savannah three (three in the final 90 seconds---the Savages would hit on seven for the game, compared to only five makes from inside the arc) cut the lead to one with just six seconds left. A missed Mustang free throw and Savannah was on their way upcourt. A 55-foot heave hit the back of the rim, bounced out and was set to land in a Savage's hands for a late-attempt from just inside the free throw line before Roberts flew out of nowhere from behind to knock the ball away and preserve a harrowing 38-37 Mustang win and a trip to the finals of the 80th Annual Eldon Invitiational.
In that final game, Marquette takes on fellow St. Louis-area foe Vianney in a 5:30 tilt on Saturday, January 29.
Leading Scorers: Ryan Rosburg-14, Jordan Singer-7. Leading Rebounders: Rosburg-14, Singer-6. Leading Assists: Lanard Williams-3. HARD HAT AWARD WINNER: Garrett Roberts
For game stats-click HERE
For video highlights-click HERE