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Markus Howard’s 53 points overshadowed by controversy in Marquette win at Creighton

NIT Season Tip-Off

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 21: Markus Howard #0 of the Marquette Golden Eagles looks toward the bench during a time out during the first half of the game against Kansas Jayhawks during the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament at Barclays Center on November 21, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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Markus Howard’s unbelievable season continued on Wednesday in a way that only Markus Howard can do it.

The 6-foot Marquette star became the first Division I player in 20 years to score 50 points twice in his career, the first player since Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks to score at least 45 points three times in one season and now owns the top four single-game scoring marks in Marquette history after he went for a career-high 53 points in a 106-104 win at Creighton.

In a season full of unbelievable performances by the 19-year old junior, this was as incredible as any of them. Howard scored those 53 points on 15-for-26 shooting. He was 10-for-14 from three. 14 of those 53 points came in overtime, including the first 11 that Marquette scored in the extra period in just 2:30.

Should I mention that he also finished with six assists?

As incredible as Howard was, it was the sixth of his assists on the night that is going to dominate the conversation in Omaha for the next couple of days, because Marquette may have been given the gift of a game-tying three.

Before we get into the controversy, the stupidity: Martin Krampelj could have ended this game. With 0.8 seconds left and taking the ball out under Marquette’s basket, Creighton threw a pass 60 feet down the floor to Krampelj, and all he had to do was get a touch on it and the clock would have run out. But he let the ball go over his head and, as it was rolling out of bounds, he did not chase it down until it was too late.

So the Golden Eagles got the ball out of bounds under their own basket with a chance to tie the game and force overtime, and they did just that:

Maybe not so much.

It is quite clear that, based on this picture from a USA Today Sports photographer, the ball was still in Hauser’s hand when the buzzer went off.

But it’s hard to tell on the replay -- based on the video that was shown on the broadcast, the image was too blurry to definitively tell either way. It looks bad now, but I think that, upon review, the referees made the right decision. (Full disclosure: I didn’t think he got the shot off in real time.)

But that is neither here nor there.

Because the shot counted.

Markus Howard scored 14 of his 53 points in overtime.

And No. 18 Marquette escaped one of the tougher road venues in the Big East with a win they really needed to avoid falling off the pace set by Villanova.