A couple of days ago, we wondered in this space if anyone on Marquette's roster was ready to put on the big boy pants, to demand the ball in crunch time and take -- and make, hopefully -- big shots at big times. There seemed to be a number of players who have the talent to fill that role -- Jamil Wilson, Vander Blue, Davante Gardner -- but whether anyone had the requisite attitude remained an open question.
Junior Cadougan provided a rather emphatic answer last night.
Eat your heart out, Rotnei Clarke.
Cadougan's triple broke a string of fourteen straight misses from distance for Marquette and swung the tide back to the Golden Eagles after an impressive rally by the young Huskies, who twice recovered from second-half, 10-point deficits behind the sublime Shabazz Napier and tiny terror Ryan Boatright.
The overtime period was something of a debacle, as I'm sure you know by now, and unfortunately that's casting a bit of a shadow on Cadougan's day in the sun, but we've written enough about that already. Now's the time to celebrate a good kid making a big shot in a big moment, and maybe -- just maybe -- claiming a team as his own.
A few other notes on the action:
- Owing to the fact that he's the only assistant who was on the staff last year, Brad Autry -- and not our man Jerry Wainwright -- got the nod to sit in for Buzz Williams as Buzz served his one-game suspension for Scott Monarch's offseason recruiting violations. Autry wasn't very good in the last five minutes of regulation (Marquette was a discombobulated mess coming out of timeouts, Davante Gardner's only touch came beyond the three-point line, and Marquette didn't score for almost three minutes until Cadougan's dagger), but he's getting a lot of credit for not calling a timeout before Cadougan's mad dash. I'm not sure if that credit's totally deserved -- I think stuff happened kinda fast at the end there, maybe before Autry had time to react -- but whatever: he seems like a good dude. We'll give him credit here, too.
- I have no idea what's going on with Jamil Wilson. He looked completely disinterested in the first half, at one point standing flat-footed with hands at his hips while Ryan Boatright whistled a pass over his head to a wide-open DeAndre Daniels, and while he woke up a bit in the second half to finish with 7 points and 7 rebounds, he only attempted four shots and fouled out in 19 minutes. I don't get it, you guys.
- With Jamil and Juan Anderson limited by foul trouble in the first half, Steve Taylor, Jr. seized the opportunity, notching six first-half points, grabbing a couple of offensive rebounds, and showing good quickness on a nifty take to the basket. If he starts hitting his throws, you have to believe he's a major threat to Jamil and Juan's minutes going forward.
- "Vander Blue had a quietly efficient 13" count: 3.
- Shabazz Napier is a freaking nightmare. I know the fellas at UConn aren't ready to make the Kemba comparisons, but after that display last night, I sure am.
- Trent Lockett seemed destined for another disappointing outing, missing all seven of his field goal attempts and looking generally out of sorts until the last minute of the game, when he blocked Omar Calhoun's fadeaway jumper attempt and then snared a long rebound after Jamil Wilson missed the back-end of a one-and-one. After Lockett calmly hit all four of his throws to ice the game, you left the gym thinking: "Ah, so THAT's why Buzz wanted that guy so badly."
Jae Crowder Player of the Year of the Game: There's no choice but Junior Cadougan today, not only for his game-tying three but also for his 18-3-5 line, and his single turnover in 35 minutes of action.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: Derrick Wilson had a bad turnover in his limited run, so the nod goes to Trent Lockett, who displayed his Swiss-knife versatility in the final minute of the contest.
Davante "Big Smoove" Gardner Smoove Play of the Game Junior Cadougan Canadian Stone Cold Killah Cold-Blooded Shot of the Game: So good we had to rename the award for it.
Up Next: Our friends and future Big Priest conference-mates from Georgetown pay a visit to the Bradley Center at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.