Marquette outrebounds Jays, gets win

Paul McMahon of Jefferson City puts up a shot during Wednesday’s game against Marquette at Fleming Fieldhouse.

Paul McMahon of Jefferson City puts up a shot during Wednesday’s game against Marquette at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

Frustration doesn’t even come close to describing it.

The Jefferson City Jays were outrebounded by a 2-1 margin and made just 14 field goals Wednesday night against the Marquette Mustangs at Fleming Fieldhouse.

And they still had a shot to win it in the final seconds. Frustrating.

“I feel like we weren’t ready to play,” Jays coach David Fox said after Jefferson City dropped a 38-37 decision to the Mustangs. “For whatever reason, we weren’t ready to play.”

Wednesday was the last day of final exams for Jefferson City. And earlier this week, the game was moved from today to Wednesday because of tonight’s expected winter weather.

But those are excuses.

“We’re certainly not going to put the blame anywhere but on the fact we were not ready to play,” Fox said.

The Mustangs finished with a substantial 43-21 edge on the boards.

“That’s unbelievable,” Fox said. “When you have a statistic like that, it’s not hard to figure out why we lost.”

It was a fairly even first quarter, with a Billy Brehe putback at the buzzer cutting Marquette’s lead to 12-10. The Mustangs used a 6-0 spurt over a minute late in the second quarter to take a 22-17 advantage into intermission.

An offensive rebound and bucket by Garrett Roberts midway through the third quarter gave the Mustangs their biggest lead of the night at 28-21.

At that point, the Jays shifted to a smaller lineup to put more defensive pressure on the Mustangs. That meant the Jays 6-foot-5 senior Paul McMahon had to guard Marquette’s 6-9 senior Ryan Rosburg, who totaled 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

McMahon did a good job on Rosburg, who had just one shot in the third quarter and six points in the second half.

“Paul plays with a lot of energy on both ends of the floor and he did a great job,” Fox said.

A steal by Kody Walker led to a Brenden Jackson layup with seven seconds left in the quarter to cut Marquette’s lead to 30-26 heading into the final period.

The Jays used a 9-3 run over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to take a 35-33 lead. The run was capped by a long jumper by Jackson. After the Mustangs tied it with four minutes left, the teams combined to score five points the rest of the way.

A pair of McMahon free throws with 1:07 remaining gave the Jays a 37-36 lead. The Jays got a steal on the Mustangs’ next possession, but were whistled for a double-dribble.

Marquette took advantage as Rosburg hit a short jumper with :27.9 on the clock to make it 38-37. Jefferson City then was called for an over-and-back after dropping the ball on an inbounds pass with :12.7 left.

The Mustangs missed the front end of a pair of 1-and-1s in the final :10, with the Jays getting the rebound on the second. They drove the length of the floor, but had a 3-pointer come up short as time expired.

“They outhustled us, outplayed us and we were still in a position to win the game,” Fox said.

Rosburg finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Mustangs (4-3). Matt Hink also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Zack Ploeger also pulled down 10 boards.

McMahon and Jackson both had 12 points for the Jays (2-3), who will open play in the Mike Kehoe Great 8 Classic on Tuesday against West Creek (10-1) of Clarksville, Tenn. Game time is 7 p.m. at Fleming Fieldhouse.

“We’re playing an extremely good basketball team,” Fox said. “But we work too hard, we’re not going to take steps back.”

In Wednesday’s JV game, Scott Stegeman tossed in 15 points as Jefferson City topped Marquette 50-35. A.J. Miller added 12 points for the Jays.

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