NCAA Basketball Tournament - Murray State v Marquette

Marquette had their chances to come back on Florida

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Marquette just didn’t have it tonight.

That’s not what the Golden Eagle faithful want to hear, but it’s the simple truth. No. 7 seed Florida used a 9-0 run to take a 36-30 lead into halftime and Marquette was ever able to bounce back, losing 68-58. That’s what tends to happen when you’re big guns — Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder — go a combined 10-for-30 from the floor and 3-14 from three.

The Golden Eagles played, more or less, the way they have all season long. They got out in transition. They fired away from three. They took some ill-advised shots and they attacked the basket with reckless abandon, but the shots just didn’t fall. When you get this deep in the NCAA tournament, you are almost always going to lose when you shoot 30.8% from the field.

What is going to sting for the Golden Eagles is that they didn’t lose this game because they were outplayed.

Florida’s lead guards, Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, combined to shoot 5-for-19 from the floor and turn the ball five times. Erik Murphy was 3-of-13 from the field and hit just one of the eight threes he hoisted. Patric Young grabbed five offensive rebounds, but he scored only seven points and took just six shots from the floor. That is precisely what Marquette needed the Gators to do. They just couldn’t capitalize.

As with any sport, basketball is a game of moments. There are turning points in every game that will go a long way towards determining the outcome of the game. All of those moments went in Florida’s favor tonight.

Marquette couldn’t hit a big shot when they seemed to be on the brink of a run during the second half. After a layup from Murphy put Florida up 14 points, the Gators didn’t score for four minutes, but Marquette was only able to muster six points in that stretch, going 2-8 from the floor and missing a pair of free throws. After trimming the lead to eight, Marquette missed three consecutive good looks from distance.

Perhaps most telling, however, was the final two minutes. Young grabbed a huge offensive rebound after Marquette had scored seven straight point to cut the lead to 58-52, and Walker made the Golden Eagles pay with a three to push the lead back to nine. After again getting the lead down to six, an errant elbow from Boynton was ruled a “basketball play” and not a flagrant 1.

Marquette had their chances to come back. They just couldn’t capitalize on them.

It just wasn’t in the cards tonight.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.