OK, kids: there's about 24 hours until YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are back in action against the tanned and toned Bulls of South Florida. In the excitement over the Flying Rodent Stunt Spectacular, you (fine, fine: we) may have forgotten there was actually a basketball game yesterday. Let's hit the bullet points and put a bow on this baby before the Bulls invade:
- It was a largely ho-hum affair after the first five minutes of the game: Marquette used a 13-2 run after the game was knotted at six to open up an early double-digit lead, and the lead hovered somewhere between seven and 12 for most of the game after that. The only real (non-bat) excitement came in the game's opening minutes, when Vander Blue took a nifty outlet pass from Juan Anderson and threw a vicious, one-handed dunk on the head of LaDontae Henton. That was the first submission to the junior year version of the Vander Blue Posterization files, following two sublime submissions in Blue's sophomore year.
- With the crowd roaring after Vander's dunk, analyst Sean Kearney opined that the Bradley Center is "one of the most difficult NBA arenas to play in in the Big East." At last count (if I remember right), there's, uh, four NBA arenas in the conference: the Verizon Center, the Wells Fargo Center, and MSG. That's quite the compliment, Sean.
- Speaking of Vander, it's time to update the "Vander Blue had a quietly efficient 13" counter: I think we're at 4 now. Or five? Oh my God: I'VE LOST TRACK OF HOW MANY TIMES VANDER HAS QUIETLY PUT UP DOUBLE-DIGIT SCORING NUMBERS. Pinch me.
- The other news that came out of the game was the DNP-Coach's Decision for Todd Mayo, who never even took off his warm-up suit at any point in the afternoon. After the game, Coach Buzz insisted that Mayo wasn't hurt and wasn't being disciplined, but only that he was pleased with Blue's defensive effort against PC stud Bryce Cotton and didn't want to interrupt "the flow of the game." Which makes sense, I suppose, until you remember that the flow of the game was interrupted multiple times BY A ****ING BAT.
- If I was a betting man (and I'm not, so take this with a grain of salt), I might wager that Coach Buzz was saving Mayo's legs with the quick turnaround against South Florida on Monday, and that Mayo will see 30 minutes tomorrow.
- Steve Taylor, Jr. hit a step-back jumper from just beyond the free throw line with about 3 minutes to go in the first half. It made me blush and I had to fan myself like a Southern belle who's been out in the sun too long.
- Junior Cadougan is lethal in the open court.
- If Juan Anderson wants to shoot the Lazar Hayward-Jae Crowder Three-Point Trailer From the Top of the Key with some regularity, I'd be OK with it.
- Ed Cooley should've coached the second half in a beekeeper suit. It would've looked slightly less ridiculous than the Mother-Teresa-with-a-Gatorade-towel look that he opted for instead.
- Here's something you don't expect to see in the box score every morning: BLOCKS: Davante Gardner (2), Junior Cadougan (2).
- Davante did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to yesterday, culminating in a play where he actually beat a dude off the dribble on the wing for a pretty lay-in. The only creature that had a prayer of stopping Ox was the bat, which caused Big Smoove to duck and weave like he was shadow boxing.
A couple of awards, one last look at BATGIF, then we turn the page to USF:
Jae Crowder Player of the Year of the Game: The outcome was never really in doubt, but during the brief moments when things were threatening to get a bit dicey, Junior Cadougan was there to put an end to the silliness. With a couple of pretty open court moves and some heady play with the shot clock set to expire, Cadougan ended the day with 15 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and two blocks.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: I'd like to give this award to Steve Taylor (and, hell, it's my recap and there's nothing stopping me from doing it), but Juan Anderson deserves mention for 15 very good minutes which saw him hit a couple of threes, a free throw, and notch three steals. I'm not sure who put a quarter in Juan this offseason, but I'd like to give that fella or gal a hearty handshake in appreciation.
Davante "Big Smoove" Gardner Smoove Play of the Game: I watched this on a loop for 15 minutes this morning. I'm still laughing.
Up Next: Different bat-channel, different bat-time, but hopefully no bat-bats, as Marquette returns to the infested Bradley Center at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow to face USF.