At this point it feels like every single night, we get some sort of signature game to discuss and Wednesday is no different. Marquette went on the road and beat Marquette in one of the more surprising upsets of the season thus far and ended one of the longest home-court win streaks in the sport. Elsewhere we got a couple of SEC battles where the pregame favorites got their wins, let’s dive into the daily roundup.
Marquette gets signature road win at Villanova
The last team to beat Villanova at the Pavilion was Michigan in 2018, the last Big East team to win in the Pavilion was Butler in 2017, both those streaks ended Wednesday night as the Wildcats fell at home to Marquette 57-54. The first half was a pretty competitive first half, but the Golden Eagles led thanks to a near buzzer-beating jumper from Darryl Morsell. Even still, Villanova had a really good start to the second half, and Justin Moore’s three made it a 45-36 lead for Villanova. Down the stretch, Marquette made shots to make it close, but Villanova only had three points in the last 7:30 of the game, which allowed Marquette to stay in the game. Down four, Justin Lewis made back-to-back shots to tie the game at 54. After another defensive stop, Lewis drilled a top of the key three to put Marquette on top for good, as they held on for the 57-54 win.
This was a massive program win for Shaka Smart and Marquette. The Golden Eagles are closing in on an at-large bid thanks to their great start, a start that includes now five quadrant one wins and a 13-6 record. Shaka Smart parachuting to Marquette was looked upon as a somewhat underwhelming hire, but he has brought a defensive identity and got culture players, which have been key as Marquette is closing in on an at-large bid. For Villanova, there are great streaks that are always going to eventually come to an end, obviously, they didn’t want it to happen here, but it still was an incredible streak. Villanova will still be the favorite to win the Big East and they remain a three seed in the latest Bracketology update.
Alabama survives against LSU
Going against a really good LSU team, albeit short-handed LSU, Alabama needed a big win to stay somewhat near the SEC title race and in a position to get a high-seed. The Crimson Tide was in control late in the first half, but Tari Eason’s and-one moved LSU within one at the break. Alabama took full control of the game entering the under-8 timeout, leading 57-44 and with a combination of injuries and not great offense, the Tigers looked dead. Eric Gaines then drilled three straight threes and LSU was able to tie the game at 58 apiece. Jaden Shackelford and the Tide retook the lead with a 7-0 run themselves and a 10-2 run and they had the game won again. They, of course, didn’t want to have it easy, they turned it over a couple of times, missed four straight free throws and Brandon Murray’s three made it a 68-67 game, although thanks to two Keon Ellis free throws the Tide won 70-67. Jaden Shackelford had a big 26 point performance to help lead them to a win, while Jahvon Quinerly came off the bench willingly and provided a sparkplug scoring 17 points.
Kentucky escapes with win at Texas A&M
This was a trap game for Kentucky, as they have a game against Auburn on deck and were going into a hostile environment at Texas A&M. This game was not great for Kentucky, they struggled early, fell behind by 13 midway through the first half. Kentucky clawed back to cut the lead to 35-30 heading into the second half. The Wildcats maintained an ability to stay in the game and took the lead for good on a Jacob Toppin dunk and they held on for a 64-58 win against Texas A&M. The Wildcats played a poor game overall, Kellan Grady went 1-9 from three and couldn’t make a shot, TyTy Washington struggled, Sahvir Wheeler had 8 turnovers and yet Kentucky won. This was a big defensive performance and proved that Kentucky is a legitimate title threat, title teams are able to play badly and still win against a decent team and that is exactly what Kentucky did.
Late foul lifts Rutgers to win against Iowa
Wednesday night in the RAC didn’t provide a great offensive showdown, but it did provide the most controversial game. With the game tied at 46, an official called a hand-check foul that was called, which sent Ron Harper Jr to the line for two free throws and Harper drilled both. Rutgers certainly will take the win and the way it happened won’t matter on their resumé, meanwhile, Iowa still has a questionable resumé, they don’t have any quadrant one wins, so losing this game doesn’t help.