MILWAUKEE DaJuan Summers had a clean bill of health, but not even his fast start could administer the elixir No. 25 Georgetown desperately needed.
Summers crossed the 1,000-point threshold in his career, and the Hoyas held even with host Marquette well into the second half. But paced by a trio of players with at least 23 points, the No. 8-ranked Golden Eagles denied the Hoyas a chance to offset many of their recent doldrums in a 94-82 loss at Bradley Center.
“We played a very good team on their homecourt, with a couple great players who played like great players,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “They’re playing at a high level right now.”
Senior guard Jerel McNeal, who had 26 points, 11 assists, three blocks and five steals, led Marquette.
“He’s a very complete player… and he’s very comfortable out there,” Georgetown guard Chris Wright (19 points, eight assists) said of McNeal. “That’s something a lot of people don’t pay attention to. He doesn’t get battered in any situation. Today, probably 95 or 96 percent of the time, he made the right play.”
The early going favored the Hoyas (12-8, 3-6 Big East). Summers, whose availability was in question after an ankle injury forced him to leave Wednesday’s game at Cincinnati in the first half, scored his team’s first eight points as the Hoyas sprinted out to a 21-11 lead. He concluded with 22 points, becoming the 40th player in school history to reach 1,000 points with a dunk early in the second half.
The junior finished with a team-high 37 minutes, going 9-for-12 from the field and making all four 3-point attempts.
A significant free throw deficit hampered Georgetown. The Golden Eagles went 30-for-38, while the Hoyas shot 8-for-13.
“As a player, you have to try and find ways to combat that, to get better looks in the offense,” Summers said.
Marquette (19-2, 8-0) seized emotional control of the game with 12:36 to play, when Wesley Matthews stole a Georgetown pass and went the length of the floor for a one-handed dunk, giving the Golden Eagles their biggest lead to that point, 59-52.
It was part of a 14-3 run for Marquette, and the Hoyas were never closer than five points thereafter.
“It’s hard to sit and analyze and say we made progress - and we did - but we have to figure out a way to win,” Thompson said. “We just couldn’t get stops. They have a couple guys who have played a lot of games in this league, and they’re responding to the pressure. … They did a terrific job during those key possessions when we’re making a run and trying to crawl back into it, they would make a play.”
Lazar Hayward and Matthews each had 23 points apiece.
“They were the more aggressive team in the first half,” Matthews said. “They were scrambling for balls, getting to loose balls. In the second half, we had to come out and play how we’re accustomed to, and we were the tougher team.”
After a 4-for-11 performance in his team’s loss to Cincinnati, Georgetown’s Greg Monroe hit five of his first six shots and finished with 13 points, but he also finished with more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four).
The loss was the fifth straight for Georgetown and capped an 0-for-3 road trip, with stops in Cincinnati and Seton Hall.
“As a team, we learned a lot today,” Wright said. “Marquette is a tough team, [the players have] been around for four years … we have to make plays or stay consistent every play. When we make a silly play or turnover, we’ve got to try and make sure that doesn’t happen again. It’s all a process.”