Every college basketball player dreams of knocking off whoever holds the number one seed in the nation. The excitement of the game alone combined with national attention the game brings, makes it an incredible atmosphere to be around. If you manage to win, the fans rush the floor in celebratory fashion, the team earns nation attention, and the team as a whole gains confidence and momentum to finish the season. On January 24th, Marquette faced their conference rival (number 1 seeded) Villanova, and the Marquette Golden Eagles made the best of their opportunity.
The Golden Eagles started the game off slow and out of sync. Four straight turnovers led to an early 8-0 Nova run. The Wildcats seemed to be in full control of the game dominating on both sides of the ball. The Golden Eagles managed to stay in the game with small runs and big shots however, the number one seeded Wildcats never seemed rattled. Going into halftime, the Wildcats built a 15 point lead that had some fans ready to head home early.
However, Marquette continued to fight in the second half. The team came out of the locker room looking like a completely different team. Marquette amped up the defensive intensity which helped create turnovers and assisted in them capturing momentum. Oddly enough Marquette’s big three played fairly average games. Fischer scored 15 points on just 10 shots however, Johnson and Cheatham combined for 16 points and 5 turnovers. It was the bench that sparked their run in the second half. With huge shots from Duane Wilson, (11pts) Andrew Rowsey (8pts) and the star of the night, Katin Reinhardt (19pts), Marquette found themselves within striking distance. Marquette’s defense held the Wildcats to just 40% from the field and 17.6% from beyond the arc. Marquette shot 50% from the field and ended the game on a 19-4 run outscoring the Wildcats 50-33 in the 2nd half while making the necessary plays and defensive stops in the final seconds to seal the win 74-72!
“I don’t even know what to say, you dream of these types of moments” said Katin Reinhardt. Reinhardt hit both the game tying 3 and well as the game sealing free throws. Marquette’s fans rushed the floor and celebrated with the team. With this win, Marquette has the confidence to finish the season strong. This win proved that when they play their brand of basketball, they can beat anyone in the nation on any given night. Even though Marquette loss their last game to Providence, the Golden Eagle fans are hoping the win against Nova will be their spark plug for the season. Marquette is now in fifth place in the hyper competitive Big East, with a 5-4 conference record and a 14-7 overall record. The team still remains in the thick of things with huge games left against conference rivals Butler, Providence, and Xavier. Those games will be tough but one thing’s for sure; when Marquette comes to play they are a tough team for anyone in the nation to defeat.