Hoopcap: Marquette’s Shook Second Half Leads To Blowout
Marquette Golden Eagles entered the tournament for the first time since 2013. Standing at a crowded bar with the sound piped in, I felt a special sort of excitement. There isn’t a better feeling. South Carolina seemed like a formidable opponent, but they were beatable. Golden Eagles had a halftime lead and controlled the game for the most part. That’s where it ended. Gamecocks got hot, and Marquette’s defense failed them like it has many times before leading to a blowout. A great season came to an end. Yes, it’s a great season, don’t let people tell us differently.
Early second half run changed the game
Marquette had a five-point lead after a Markus Howard three with 16 minutes left in the game. Golden Eagles would never regain that kind of lead again. South Carolina went on a 13-0 run and went up eight in a heartbeat. That changed the whole game. The pro-South Carolina crowd went a fever pitch, and it threw Golden Eagles off their game. They were never the same.
Markus Howard needs to be better against aggressive defenses
One of the things on the young freshman needs to work on in the summer is how to play against aggressive, ballhawk defense. Howard had six turnovers. He had a similar game against St. John’s on the road who played much like Frank Martin’s bunch. Howard’s ballhandling needs some improvement as he gets tied up with his crossover too many times.
Jajuan Johnson gave it his all
Give a ton of credit to Jajuan Johnson. He did everything thing he could to will Marquette back into this game. Johnson finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. He played his ass off in the final game of his senior career and ended on a high note with a strong finish to the season. Johnson had an up-and-down career with Marquette, but there were many highlights. Yes, this was a blowout, but he played the great in his last game in a Marquette uniform.
NCAA Tournament Committee set up a road game for Marquette
Last week, I made a comment that I didn’t think the Greenville location would affect the game, and boy, was I wrong. The crowd ended up being around 80 percent South Carolina fans, maybe more. It felt like a road game versus a neutral location. What are we really do here? Why couldn’t Michigan-Oklahoma State been played here with Marquette-South Carolina in Indianapolis? That seems too obvious for the committee though.
Players of the Game: Jajuan Johnson (Marquette) Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina)
Next up: Well, it’s the offseason for Marquette. As always, you get nervous about any sort of transfer possibility, but Marquette should be very excited about next season. Almost their entire team comes back next season plus you add more beef with 6’8 Theo John, 6’9 Ike Eke and 6’7 Jamal Cain. Both players present a part of Marquette that has been missing. Howard will be more seasoned and ready to the lead charge. It should be a thrilling year.