Welcome to Division I Longwood University, now come get your whoopin'. Marquette introduced themselves to the 3rd year DI program with 96-65 undressing Saturday at the Bradley Center.
As you may have read, Longwood generally favors a run and gun style and launches a lot of 3s. They came out with that attack against your Golden Eagles today, and it didn't go so well. Marquette led from wire to wire. After trailing 17-4 in the early going Longwood made a little run in the first half, getting within 19-15 at the 12 minute mark. After that MU stepped on the gas and left the overmatched Lancers in the dust. Longwood tried to keep pace but their 3-point shooting was off target (10-29) and their propensity for turnovers (16 per game, 18 today) prevented them from ever threatening.
Some interesting tidbits:
- After playing just one minute in the past three games, Reggie Smith got the start today. In his post game comments Coach Buzz said this was in an effort to control the number of minutes that Junior Cadougan was playing. Reggie played pretty well. He scored 5 points on 2-2 shooting (including one of MU's two 3-pointers), and had perhaps the highlight of the game with his block of a 3-point attempt in the first half.
- Speaking of controlling minutes: The playing time was very evenly distributed Saturday. Nine Golden Eagles got 17 minutes of run or more, but no one played more than 25.
- Longwood's starting "center" was listed at 6'6". Their tallest player to see the floor was listed at 6'8", and he only played for 15 minutes. You would expect 6'11" Chris Otule to have a field day against this lineup... and today you'd be right. The big fella was pretty much unstoppable on the offensive end. He went 9-9 from the field en route to a career high 19 points.
- Joe Fulce made his return to the floor today. He looked solid, if slightly less explosive than we're used to seeing. He did finish two break-away chances with dunks - the second of which seemed more authoritative than the first. In total he put up 9 points, on 4-5 shooting, and 6 rebounds. It was good to see him out there, I think he's going to be important to this team going forward.
- On the flip side of that coin: Davante Gardner was held out of his 3rd straight game with that bum left shoulder. After the game Buzz indicated that Gardner may have been able to go but he just didn't feel comfortable playing him on account of both the injury and the fact that he had only practiced about 13 minutes this week.
- Jamail Jones got in the game today. Late in the game he finally got his chance to get in the highlight reel, but he missed a dunk... much to the crowd's dismay.
- This was an absolute dismantling of a vastly inferior opponent (and one of the worst defensive teams I've watched in a while), that much is true. But it wasn't all peaches and cream this afternoon. There were still some definite lapses on defense, that led to quite a few very good looks from 3-point land. Luckily the Lancers were not torching the nets and most of those good looks went begging. I don't know if that was a bi-product of the enormous second half lead or not, but if this had been a better team we may have been in trouble.
Let's see here... I believe some awards are in order.
Jimmy Butler Player of The Game: If any player went 9-9 from the field and notched a career high in points, they would get the nod for POTG. Today is no different, except that today we get the bonus of making Rubie's head spin around like the chick from The Exorcist. That's right kids, I'm giving the POTG nod to big Chris Otule. In addition to his 19 points, Otule threw in 5 boards and 3 blocks just for good measure.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: Today's Undersung Eagle is Jimmy Butler. We're accustomed to seeing Jimmy on the top line in this segment, but it wasn't a typical game for Butler. He was not among the 5 MU players scoring in double figures today - scoring only 9 points on 2-7 shooting. But Jimmy did lead the team with 11 rebounds, played good D and did all the other little things that he usually does.
Up next: One last cupcake before Bucky comes a calling. Texas A&M Corpus Christi visits the Bradley Center, Tuesday at 8 pm. The Islanders are one of the favorites to win the Southland Conference this year, and put a scare into Oklahoma State in Stillwater earlier this year. Most people around here will probably remember rooting for them to pull the 15-2 upset over Wisconsin in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Hopefully this will be just the tune-up MU needs before taking on the Red Menace.