Hinkle Magic is a thing.
Marquette led nearly 34 minutes against No. 13 Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, but allowed Butler to go on unanswered runs of eight and nine points in the second half and seven in overtime as MU fell to the Bulldogs, 89-85.
A Markus Howard jumper gave Marquette (14-5, 4-4 BIG EAST) a 68-62 lead with 2:36 left in regulation. That’s when Kamar Baldwin began to take over for Butler, scoring game’s next six points to tie things back up at 68 with 49 seconds left.
After Howard missed a three with that tied score, and Baldwin got the rebound, Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski appeared to tell Brendan Bailey to foul Baldwin after Baldwin took the ball into the forecourt, despite Butler (16-4, 4-3 BIG EAST) being in the bonus, the game being tied and 20 seconds remaining. Baldwin hit just one of two free-throws to give Butler a 69-68 lead, but Marquette got the rebound, Howard missed another three and Baldwin was again fouled after grabbing that board. Baldwin made both of those free-throws, increasing the Bulldog advantage to 71-68 with a little over eight seconds on the clock.
Marquette had a timeout, and Butler had the option to foul to force MU to shoot two free throws down three, but neither team elected to use those respective options. Instead, Kobe McEwen ran the floor and took a dramatic, pull-up three that rattled in with 2.3 seconds left to tie the game back up at 71. A last-second Butler prayer was off, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period, however, Butler continued its end-of-regulation charge. Baldwin scored 10 points in overtime after scoring the last nine for Butler in regulation, allowing him to finish with a game-high 31. Marquette had no answer. MU did go on a 9-2 run in the final minute of OT to trim what had been an 84-76 Butler lead down to one. But with McEwen having fouled out before the final seconds, Howard became the focal point of Butler’s defense and couldn’t connect on any of his late chances, going 0-for-5 in overtime with four of those shots coming from three-point range. Sacar Anim missed a layup that would have brought Marquette back within two with 17 seconds left. Butler grabbed the board and made free throws to close out the win.
The Marquette lead was as large as nine with 13:41 left. Howard, currently the nation’s top scorer, finished with 26 points to lead MU, but scored 18 of those in the first half, hit just 4-of-18 shots from beyond the three-point line and had to spend time on the bench during the second half after hitting the back of his head on a chair in the front row of baseline seats at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Howard did return, but the blow made everyone at Hinkle take pause, as Howard already has three documented concussions, dating back to his high school career, and is only age 20.
Anim scored 22, Bailey 14 and McEwen had 13, including the game-tying three and two three-pointers during Marquette’s overtime run. McEwen also lead all rebounders with 11.
The loss ends a three-game winning streak for Marquette. It will remain on the road for its next game, Wednesday night against Xavier. Start time in Cincinnati is set for 7:30 p.m. CST.
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