MubbCap: St. John’s Smacks Marquette in Big East Opener
Marquette and conference openers mix like oil and water. Did you know Marquette has not won their road conference opener since 2005? That feels impossible, but it’s true per the impeccable Paint Touches. Marquette has not won their first road conference since 2005 when they beat Tulane. Golden Eagles will have to wait another year to win an opener on the road. 18th ranked marquette fell to St. John’s, 89-69, as the team ran out of gas with 10 minutes left and the Johnnies pulled away to victory. It’s Marquette’s first loss since Kansas in late November.
Player of the Game: Shamorie Ponds – If we made a list of Big East killers against Marquette, Shamorie Ponds is in the starting lineup. He continues to kill Marquette, and I’m thankful the Golden Eagles have one more game against him. Ponds showed out in this one going off for 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists being one of the reasons St. John’s won this one. Unlike in years’ past where Ponds is the only dude, the Red Storm had help all over the court with the four other starters in double-figures.
Silver Star: Joey Hauser – If you’re looking for a silver lining from this game, the conference road games didn’t bother the talented freshman. Joey Hauser handled his business and led the way for Marquette in scoring with 15 points. He picked up the slack as Markus Howard struggled mightily from the field. Hauser did most of his work inside the paint making five of his six shots inside the arc and included one three-pointer. Against the power conference teams (Not Power 5, I need a new word, please advise) Hauser is averaging 12.3 points.
Thing I Liked: Marquette hung in there for 30 minutes without Howard’s hotness – Man, you feel like if Howard finds his stroke, Marquette might have a shot in this game. They were only down 12 points with 10 minutes to go. Golden Eagles couldn’t sustain a run. It’s pretty hard to do that when your best player only makes two shots from the field and to the line only twice as well. I’m not worried about Howard going into a slump. Every player has a bad game, and honestly, he was probably due.
Thing I Didn’t Like: Defense reared its ugly head – Marquette’s defense has been one of the bigger bright spots of the season. They’re playing an a top 50 efficiency rate for the year, but tonight, things didn’t look good. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie pointed out their defensive rating suffers against the good teams they faced this season. Marquette posted an 89 in 71 possessions last night. That’s their second-worst of the season only behind Indiana.
Next up: Marquette has their home opener against Xavier on Sunday. Marquette will look to bounce back and avoid going 0-2 in Big East play since the 2015-2016 season. Xavier isn’t the same team they were the last couple years, and if Marquette were to fall to them, it would qualify as their first bad loss of the year. Xavier has been brutal on the road this season. Musketeers have lost games by totals of 15 to both Cincinnati and Missouri before picking up a road win versus DePaul last weekend. Xavier will host a tough Seton Hall team tonight.