OTTAWA — Despite a late 8-point lead, the Hall Red Devils couldn’t shut down the Marquette Crusaders Friday at Bader Gymnasium in Ottawa. They let the game slip away on missed free throws and lost 65-61.
“I thought our kids played a great game outside of the last 50 seconds of the game but the problem is you have to play all 32 (minutes) to win and we didn’t finish the end of the game by making our free throws,” Hall coach Mike Fillippini said.
The Red Devils missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one attempts down the stretch and four total missed free throws in the last 50 seconds of play.
“We have no one to blame but ourselves,” Fillippini said. “We missed three front ends on the one-and-ones. We make those free throws, and the game is over. We were up by four with 60 seconds. I told them in the huddle, ‘There is only one way you lose the game — if you turn the ball over and miss free throws.’ And that’s what we did. We deserved to lose. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
The missed opportunities by Hall allowed the Crusaders to convert big plays on both ends of the floor.
Marquette grabbed a defensive rebound and quickly pushed the ball to the other end of the floor when junior guard Michael Sypniewski drained a three-pointer from the top of the key with 20 seconds left, giving the Crusaders a 62-61 lead, a lead they would hang onto for the remainder of the contest.
Hall had an opportunity to take the lead on a jump shot by senior Austin Schmitt but the rebound eventually ended up in Crusader hands and Hall senior guard Miguel Villarreal fouled Marquette guard Luke Miller.
Miller missed his one-and-one opportunity but Marquette gained possession on a rebound and Hall was forced to foul forward Tyler Verona on two. Verona knocked down three of four free throws with less than three seconds to play to give the Crusaders a 65-61 victory.
“Sometimes you learn your lesson the hard way, and we definitely learned the hard way by… It doesn’t matter. If you make free throws the games over, it doesn’t matter if they make twos or threes if we make the free throws the game is over,” Fillippini said.
Villarreal led the Hall offense with18 points, while Schmitt and senior guard Trevier each added 11 points for the Red Devil attack.
Marquette was led offensively by guard Skippy Martini with 19 points and Sypniewski with 15 points, each also hitting three 3-pointers in the contest.
“Our kids played hard. They had a great effort we just didn’t finish the last 50 seconds,” Fillippini said.
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