MILWAUKEE, Wisc. -- A season ago, West Virginia beat Marquette at home when Da'Sean Butler made the second of his season's six game-winning shots. The Mountaineers outrebounded the Golden Eagles that day, 34-22, and had a 12-4 edge in second-chance points.
Devin Ebanks led the effort with eight rebounds, including one late that he took on defense and turned into a dunk on the other end to set up Butler's basket.
This season's Mountaineers knew they'd be very different without those to around to help. Saturday's game against Marquette provided another illustration. WVU was outrebounded by 10 and bungled a bunch of plays late in a 79-74 loss before 15,575 inside the Bradley Center.
"The honest to God truth is we're not as athletic as we were," Coach Bob Huggins said. "Our guys can't make the same kind of plays Devin and Da'Sean made. We've got to be a little more precise with the basketball."
WVU (8-4, 0-2 Big East) has lost its first two conference games first the first time since 2002. The team plays at DePaul (6-8, 0-2) Tuesday at 9 p.m.
"It's critical now. It's a must-win game," said point guard Truck Bryant. "We need to win the games we're supposed to win and we're supposed to win against DePaul, I believe. We need the win build confidence and get going in the Big East."
The Mountaineers trailed 9-0 early and in their first six possessions missed two shots and committed five turnovers. They were down by 11 in the middle of the first half, but battled back to trail by three at halftime and take a lead in the second half despite impossibly hot shooting by Marquette (10-4, 1-0).
A 3-pointer by Bryant gave the Mountaineers a 57-53 lead. The advantage was gone within a minute, though, and the sides would trade the lead nine more times and be tied twice the rest of the way.
"We did what we had to do to get back in it, but we didn't maintain it," said point guard Joe Mazzulla.
Marquette made 15 of its first 20 shots in the second half and scored on offensivee rebounds on two of the misses, both that came in succession. Jae Crowder was fouled trying to put in a rebound and spun the ball high off the glass and watched it fall through the basket for a 73-68 lead with 3:32 to go.
Kevin Jones made two free throws and Bryant scored on a jumper and a layup to give WVU its final lead, 74-73, with 1:44 remaining.
Marquette's Dwight Buycks shot early and open on the next possession.
"We'll live with that shot every day," Bryant said.
Buycks missed, but center Chris Otule flew in to dunk the rebound for his only basket of the game and a 75-74 lead.
"There was a lot of scrambling and a lot of guys spread out in different places and nobody found him," Jones said. "I don't know how anybody didn't find him because he's the biggest guy on the court, but I blame myself on that one.
"That's my side of the basket and I'm supposed to protect my side and get that rebound. That was a crucial point in the game. We needed to get that rebound. We get that rebound and it's probably a different game."
WVU called a timeout with 1:14 to go and Bryant missed a jumper, but Marquette missed the front end of a 1-and-1. The Mountaineers then ran a play they called in the timeout, but Bryant couldn't get his pass to Casey Mitchell at the top of the key and it was stolen by Crowder.
"He cheated up off his man and whoever he was guarding didn't say anything," Mitchell said. "He ran right through the pass and took off with it."