Hoopcap: Marquette Makes a Statement In Cincy
People talk all the time about statement wins. Yes, it’s a cliche terminology, but there are games you can point where it feels the team is trying to send a message. Marquette did that on Wednesday night. They beat up Xavier from the first whistle to the last whistle. Every punch from Musketeers, Marquette waited for the counter on the other end. Golden Eagles made a statement showing they belong in the NCAA Tournament, and they’re a threat in the Big East Tournament. Golden Eagles earn their first sweep of Musketeers since they’ve joined the Big East.
Marquette couldn’t miss
This is more for the second half, but good lord, Marquette was on fire. They had five players in double figures – Andrew Rowsey, Jajuan Johnson, Katin Reinhardt, Markus Howard and Sam Hauser. All five players had big shots at some point to quiet down the X’s comeback. My favorite thing about this game is Golden Eagles didn’t just to do it from three. They worked in a mid-range game, some layups and of course, the three ball. If the team continues to do that, they’re very scary to opposing teams.
Trevon Bluiett was a non-factor for most of the game.
While Marquette did give up 84 points, and a critic could point to the fact Marquette should have blew this team out, they still played solid enough defense especially against Trevon Bluiett. The broadcast tried to make excuses for him regarding an ankle injury that kept him out of the first matchup, but Golden Eagles did a great job containing him early on. Bluiett ended up with 15 points, but most of it came in garbage time.
Converting turnovers to points
One of the reasons Marquette won this game so handily is they scored when Xavier turned the ball over. It was a +16 margin for Golden Eagles which is a crazy high number considering Xavier had only four turnovers than Marquette. Johnson led the way with four steals and made sure to finish those off with points. He played his best game of the season in my opinion.
All that bubble talk
Writing this in the early morning, it’s hard to know where bracketologists will place Marquette. Most of them minus CBS’s Jerry Palm were bullish on Marquette before the game last night. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi moved Golden Eagles out of the last four in. Many feel they’re in no matter what happens against Creighton. I’m not there yet. They need to keep the pedal to the metal and finish strong. Marquette has been awful at Madison Square Garden so if they need one more win for lock status, may it come at Bradley Center and not a must at MSG.
Player of the Game: Jajuan Johnson (Marquette), J.P. Macura (Xavier)
Next up: Marquette finishes off their year at home versus Creighton on Saturday afternoon. It should be a rocking crowd in the Bradley Center. Blue Jays look to get their revenge on Golden Eagles after Marquette dropped 102 on them earlier this year. It should be a shootout again with an up and down Jays team.