Another Cupcake Down: No. 16/16 Marquette 88, Jacksonville 56

Marquette tuned up for Saturday's showdown in Madison with an ultimately easy 88-56 win over Jacksonville on Monday night at the Bradley Center.  Jae Crowder led MU with 27 points as MU shot the lights out from the field, shooting 58.5% overall and 56.3% from 3-point land.

YOUR Golden Eagles shrugged off a slow, and at times uninspired, start to pull away late in the first half.  Jacksonville actually held a 23-22 lead at the 5:30 mark of the first half on the strength of 5-9 shooting from three point range.  MU then seized control and closed out the half on a 15-5 run to lead 37-28 at the break.  The run was punctuated by a fadeaway three from Darius Johnson-Odom as the buzzer sounded.

The 2nd half was all Golden Eagles.  A 17-2 run in just under 3 minutes extended the Marquette lead to 62-37 at the under 12 TV timeout.  Jae Crowder did his best DJO impersonation, scoring 10 of those points as Marquette tore through Jacksonville's putrid zone defense.  Crowder had another 8 point outburst in just over a minute, punctuated by a "Seriously, ya'll can't even feign defense?" 3-pointer from the top of the key to close out his scoring.

DJO chipped in with his standard issue 19 points on 7-12 shooting.  Todd Mayo continued to impress with 14 points on 4-6 shooting from the floor and 5-6 from the charity stripe.  Finally, we are getting used to Junior Cadougan's yeoman's work at the point.  Our favorite Canadian dished out 5 assists to one turnover and scored 9 points on 4-6 shooting.

More thoughts and awards after the break!

  • Despite the easy win, Buzz and Company have plenty to work on during the remainder of the week. The primary concern is defending the 3-ball.  The Rodents can shoot the rock and if MU doesn’t clean up their rotations and get out on their man, it could be an ugly, ugly game for the good guys.
  • Free throw shooting was a struggle again on Monday night.  MU hit only 59% of the 29 attempts. Let the "Why don’t we practice free throws?" debate begin anew.
  • DJO made a nice shot at the end of the half, but one has to wonder what Buzz drew up during the timeout immediately preceding the shot.  Most of the team was standing around and no one looked like they knew what to do.
  • Junior Cadougan played solidly and his game seems to be progressing nicely.  MU needs him to take care of the ball on Saturday.
  • Todd Mayo is quickly turning into the most promising freshman.  He’s smooth with the ball and can score in a variety of ways.  He’s not afraid to draw contact from his defender.  His defense could use some work after a couple of matador efforts tonight.
  • Chris Otule struggled again on the offensive side.  He made his only field goal attempt, was only 2-6 from the line and picked up two offensive fouls.
  • Otule only played 13 minutes, but Davante Gardner still didn’t get much run.  He finished with only 8 minutes.  Much of that time was picked up by Jamil Wilson (24 minutes).
  • Juan Anderson saw his most extensive action of the young season.  He grabbed a board, recorded an assist and got a nice round of applause from the adoring throng for his high energy play.  I like what he brought tonight as he seems like a good motor guy.

Jimmy Butler Player of the Game: This award can only go to one man tonight and that is the Absolut Weapon, Jae Crowder.  Jae dropped 27 on the Dolphins on only 15 shots.  He was 9-15 from the field, including 4-7 from 3.  That’s efficiency folks.  Jae Crowder: Zone Buster?

Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: He didn’t score much, but Vander Blue did everything else on Monday night.  Blue tore down 9 impressive boards, dished out a Cadougan-like 7 assists and swiped 4 steals to win the Joe Fulce award.  Vander did have 3 turnovers to lead the team, but overall efforts like this will continue to earn him plenty of run.  Vander seems to be harnessing his raw athletic ability as evidenced by some powerful boards and nifty ball handling.  Well done #2.  Now hunker down for the mouth-breathing Madisonites on Saturday.

Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play of the Game: There are a couple of options here, including DJO’s big three at the end of the first half or Junior’s alley oop to Jamil Wilson, but the award has to go to the night’s weirdest play.  Late in the second half, Juan Anderson was fouled and sent to the line for a one-and-one.  It’s unclear what happened next.  Either Jim Burr (go figure) forgot to tell the players it was a one-and-one or no one listened.  Regardless, Juan’s free throw clanked off the rim, hit the floor and everyone milled about while Jacksonville’s coach yelled "ONE-AND-ONE!!  ONE-AND-ONE!!" in his best cracked Peter Brady voice.  The ball eventually rolled out of bounds and Jacksonville took possession.

Up Next: Evil.  Saturday.  3:30 pm.  Plenty of reasonably priced seats are available at StubHub. Duty compels you to attend.

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