Gotta love that strong MU turnout. - Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
A game that started out ugly got pretty good at the end, but left a bad taste in Marquette fans' mouths.
Show of hands: when Junior Cadougan hit a jumper with 5:49 left in the first half to make the score 21-18, who had this game ending in the 70s?
Man, that first half was rough to watch.
The roughness of the first half turned into foul trouble in the second half. Trent Lockett, who was held out of the starting lineup after his head injury against Southeastern Louisiana, fouled out while Davante Gardner, Juan Anderson (Lockett's lineup replacement), and Jamil Wilson all had to deal with 4 fouls late in the game. Butler had their own issues to deal with, as Andrew Smith ended up fouling out and Roosevelt Jones had 4 as well.
So both teams are a little handcuffed, but Marquette manages to be in the lead most of the second half. But they couldn't put away the Bulldogs, which led to a tie game with about 30 seconds left and Marquette needing to get a shot off after a baseline inbounds with 4 seconds left on the shot clock. Cadougan missed a quick corner three, but it bounced to the far side where Jake Thomas - YES, THAT JAKE THOMAS - was waiting for the put back layup and drew the fifth foul from Smith for the and 1.
Thomas canned his free throw, but MU gave up a bucket on the other end that made the lead just one. With just 10 seconds left, Rotnei Clarke was forced to foul Cadougan. Junior went to the line, made the first, but missed the second for his only FT miss in four attempts on the day.
That's when this happened:
Contested. Running. One handed. 30 footer.
I can't even be upset.
Jae Crowder Player Of The Game: It's Vander Blue, and it's really not close. 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting, including three of five behind the arc, and most of Blue's points were of the "Well, that was really needed right now" variety. He added three rebounds (two on the offensive end) and an assist, too.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle Of The Game: It's a little weird to consider a guy who made his first career start undersung, but Juan Anderson held up his end of the deal. He looked completely ready for the assignment, and was all over the floor. He didn't score much (5 points), but he stuffed the stat sheet: six rebounds, two assists, three steals (including a snazzy one on a Butler inbounds), and a block.
Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play Of The Game: It's Jake Thomas' and one put back, and I will accept no arguments on this topic.
eFG%: MU - 53.1% Butler - 47.5%
TO%: MU - 21.4% Butler - 10.3%
Off. Reb%: MU - 37.9% Butler - 33.3%
FT Rate: MU - 57.1% Butler - 41.0%
Up Next: As I type this, North Carolina has a 61-31 lead on Mississippi State with 11:50 left in the second half. I'm going to say Marquette gets the Bulldogs tomorrow.
(h/t to our SB Nation overlords for finding the video that was apparently posted by CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander)