Holding a 69-65 advantage, the Wildcats thought they made a stop when a scramble for a rebound off a Marquette miss appeared to go off the leg of Golden Eagles guard Vander Blue with 6:15 to play. But the officials ruled in favor of the visitors, and Wayns responded with a frustration-laden obscenity.
One of the officials, James Breeding, who had given technicals to coaches Jay Wright and Buzz Williams in the first half, nailed Wayns. Darius Johnson-Odom, who led all scorers with 26 points, sank both free throws, and Jae Crowder (20 points, 11 rebounds) hit a layup on the ensuing possession to tie it.
When Johnson-Odom and Junior Cadougan scored on Marquette's next two possessions to make it 73-69, the Golden Eagles were in front for good.
"I thought the ball clearly went off the Marquette player - I didn't touch the ball at all," said Wayns, who also received a technical last Saturday against St. John's for what his coach said was trying to fire his team up. "I didn't say anything disrespectful to the ref or anything like that, so I don't know what caused the technical.
"That was definitely a momentum-changer, but we were still in the game. That was a four-point swing. We were up four. That could have been a stop in the ball and it went the other way, and they got four points out of it."
The Wildcats, whose big men were in foul trouble all day, doggedly held on. They twice had possessions where they could tie the game with a three-point basket, but Dominic Cheek couldn't hit either time, throwing up an off-balance air ball on the second.
Wright said the disadvantage of the technical foul was the timing of it.
"I don't think it was as much momentum as it was late in the game," he said. "If that happens earlier in the game, you've got some time to recover. But when it happens that late in the game, you don't have time to recover. Late in the game, it kills you."
The Wildcats placed five players in double figures, led by JayVaughn Pinkston with 17 and Cheek with 16.
What continued to kill 'Nova were turnovers - 20 more Saturday, six by Wayns - and 38 percent shooting in the second half. The Cats were crushed, 27-14, on the boards in the second half, as 6-10 starting center Mouphtaou Yarou was limited to 11 minutes by fouls and backup Markus Kennedy fouled out with 12 minutes left.
Maurice Sutton, the Wildcats' 6-11 junior, had his best game of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Wright said his intention was to play bigger, get the ball inside, and grab the rebound, but the Cats were limited because of fouls.
"Mouph and Markus both had two fouls quickly in the first half, and in the second half they got four immediately," he said. "Mo Sutton is more a quickness guy, so then we had to try to match them and play smaller, and they're better at small ball than us."
Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494, firstname.lastname@example.org, @joejulesinq on Twitter.