NEW YORK -- What did you think? Marquette was going to win in a blowout?
Thirteen of the Golden Eagles’ 30 regular-season games were decided by four points or less. Two went overtime. Why should things change in the Big East Tournament?
Against St. John's, they blew the lead, missed free throws and made Buzz Williams squirm.
But the heart-attack kids survived a huge second-half rally by a desperate St. John’s team to advance to the quarterfinals.
Here’s a few thoughts from the game:
The real question with the season officially over for St. John’s: What happens now with Norm Roberts? The Red Storm’s 17 victories this season were actually the most St. John’s has recorded under the chronically embattled coach, but is it enough to keep his job? Conventional wisdom says no, but conventional wisdom said no last year and he came back.
Give credit to the Johnnies. They were horrible in the first half, scoring just 17 points and shooting only 29 points but they came out aggressive and tough in the second half. Finding gaping holes in the Golden Eagles’ defense, they shot 55 percent and found a strength inside in the form of Sean Evans, Anthony Mason Jr. and Justin Brownlee. Evans had 10 of his 12 in the second half, Mason Jr., six of his eight and Brownlee all of his six points.
Marquette advances to another quarterfinal matchup with Villanova. The Wildcats scored on a buzzer-beater last year to oust the Golden Eagles. If they want to beat ‘Nova they’re going to have to shore up their defense. The Wildcats aren’t going to score 17 points in the first half.
Credit David Cubillan for the save in this game. He knocked down two of his four 3-pointers in the crucial last 10 minutes after St. John’s made it a game. His trey that didn’t even rattle the net with 1:15 left also proved to be the dagger.