The Golden Eagles put themselves in great position to beat the 10th ranked team in the land Saturday, but costly errors down the stretch, along with a myriad of missed free throws, cost them an important game in the tight Big East race. After leading by four at the break Marquette went on a run, leading by as many as 12 in the second half, but Georgetown wouldn’t give in, making one of their own. Led by seniors Roy Hibbert and Jonathan Wallace’s 20 point efforts, the Hoyas will clinch the title with a win next Saturday against Louisville. After Marquette had sustained a three point cushion late, Wallace raced down court, and as he released his three point shot, Dominic James inscrutably fouled him with 2.8 seconds left, en route to game-tying free throws forcing the eventual overtime. With the devastating loss, Marquette drops to three back of first place Georgetown with only two games remaining, and also snapped its five-game winning streak. They certainly did not deserve to win the way they played in the second half. Shooting 22-36 from the charity stripe ultimately sealed their fate, topped by James’ indecision in the closing seconds, which maakes the loss even tougher to swallow. The team’s seed in the NCAA Tournament isn’t locked yet, but this win could have definitely improved their standing. I think a 5-seed is most realistic at this point, and if they perform well in the Big East tourney, they might sneak in as a #4, but no higher.
Milestone Victory: In another squeaker today, Mike Krzyzewski’s Dukies, who trailed literally the entire contest versus a scrappy NC State team, pulled it out in the closing minutes to give Coach K his 800th win. The legend is on the verge of passing former-Oklahoma State great Eddie Sutton, who got his 801th win coaching San Francisco a couple weeks back, for fifth place All-Time. In order to pass coach Bobby Knight at the top of the list (902), Krzyzewski would probably have to stick around a minimum of five more seasons, and that’s granted Knight doesn’t return to the coaching ranks.