UB drops first game of season to No. 20 Marquette, 103-85

The Golden Eagles hand the Bulls their first loss behind Markus Howard's 40-point second half

Jon Simon
December 22, 2018 - 12:28 am

Photo: Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

The 14th-ranked UB men’s basketball team suffered their first loss of the season on Friday night, falling to the 20th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles (10-2), 103-85.

Marquette is the third major program the Bulls have faced on the road this season, having already traveled to (and beaten) West Virginia and Syracuse. Early on, UB hung right with the Golden Eagles and it looked like they were going to play another big-name basketball program right down to the wire in their own gym.

The first half was pretty back-and-forth, for the most part. UB jumped out to a 25-17 lead 10 minutes into the game but Marquette was able to close the gap. Marquette guard Markus Howard, the team and the Big East’s leading scorer, was on the bench most of the half after picking up two early fouls. But in his absence, the Golden Eagles were able to keep up with UB on the scoreboard.

Marquette held a slim lead over the Bulls at halftime, 39-38, and the first five minutes of the second half looked much like the first, both teams trading baskets and stops. Despite their top-two players in Howard and Sam Hauser having three fouls each with 15 minutes left in the game, Marquette kept both guys in and it would ultimately pay off.

The Golden Eagles went on a 9-0 run midway through the second half, and after back-to-back threes from Howard and Hauser, the Golden Eagles were up 65-55 with 12 minutes to go.

UB showed some life after Marquette’s run. The Bulls played stingy defense and rebounded well. They were able to get back in the game by scoring quick baskets and getting fast break points off Marquette’s missed shots and turnovers.

The Bulls were able to cut their deficit to two points, trailing 67-65 with 9:30 to play. Unfortunately, just as UB began to show some life, the momentum quickly shifted back into the home team’s favor.

Marquette responded to the Bulls' comeback with an 8-0 run of their own, stretching their lead back to double-digits. Howard and Hauser were, once again, the spearhead of the Golden Eagle offense. The pair of juniors were heating up from behind the arc, as they scored all eight points on the run that extended the Marquette lead back to 75-65 with eight minutes to go.

Hauser finished the night with 18 points and shot 7-of-12 from three. Marquette forward Theo John finished with a career-high seven blocks as well.

After scoring just five points in the first half, Howard made his presence felt down the stretch when the game mattered most. In a six-minute stretch from the 7:11 mark to the 1:12 mark, Howard scored every single point for his team. During those six minutes, Howard scored 24-straight points and shot 5-of-6 from three. Howard finished the game with 45 points, going 9-of-13 from three and a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line.

Howard’s offensive outburst ended up being too much for UB to overcome. He ended up out-scoring the entire UB team in the last seven-and-a-half minutes, 24-20. Howard exited the game with about a minute to go, but by then, Marquette was up nearly 20 points and had the win secured.

Jeremy Harris led the Bulls with 22 points and added seven rebounds. Davonta Jordan had a strong all-around game with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Dontay Caruthers and CJ Massinburg added 20 and 18 points respectively as well.

While the first loss of the season is a tough one, it shouldn’t sting the Bulls for too long. They’re still off to one of the best starts in program history, and have generated a ton of buzz in Buffalo and around the country with their wins over big-name programs. They may slide a few spots in the AP Poll, but it’d be a major surprise if UB completely falls out of the top-25 next week.

The Bulls will have a week long break before their next game on Saturday, December 29 at Canisius (3-7). Tip-off from the Koessler Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. You can listen to the full game, along with complete pre-game and post-game coverage on ESPN 1520. 

Comments ()