Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
We'd love to offer some insightful analysis about Marquette's game against DePaul yesterday, but it's tough to analyze an open gym pick-up game.
I'm trying to come up with a clever way to introduce this recap about YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles' somewhere-south-of-thrilling victory over the woebegone Blue Demons of DePaul, but I'm striking out, y'all.
Because, really, what much is there to say about a game where the most intrigue involved whether DePaul big man Peter Ryckbosch, whose sole mission appeared to be to bait Davante Gardner into a rabbit punch or dropkick, would foul out in the first half? (In what qualified as a mild upset, Oliver Purnell woke up long enough to sub Ryckbosch out with four first-half fouls. In four minutes of action.)
We can do the End of Varsity Blues recap for the rest of this, really:
Junior Cadougan got to the rim whenever he wanted to because Junior Cadougan gets to the rim whenever he wants to against bad defensive point guards.
Vander Blue scored a quietly efficient 18 because, at least in his junior season, he's a quietly efficient scorer.
Trent Lockett had a big block in the waning minutes of the game, stifling DePaul's last-gasp attempt to cut MU's lead to five, because he's a glue guy and that's what glue guys do.
Chris Otule scored six of Marquette's first eight points because the other team usually loses track of him a couple times in the first few minutes of the game, and then he makes a layup and a dunk and they realize: "Oh, shit. We've gotta guard that guy, too."
Jamil Wilson shot some threes because Jamil Wilson loves his jumper.
Davante Gardner shot a bunch of free throws because, well, Davante always shoots a bunch of free throws.
DePaul made threes in bunches because DePaul ... wait, that one doesn't fit.
ANYWAY, the pace wasn't as insane as you might expect with DePaul involved; there were only 64 possessions, well off DePaul's adjusted tempo of 74.3. But with Marquette scoring at will, the defensive intensity, perhaps predictably, went missing for long stretches of the game. DePaul managed to do major damage on the perimeter: nine three-point makes in 20 attempts -- including two deep hits late in the second half from Worrel Clahar, which is actually a real person and somehow not the name of a character in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark -- kept the Blue Demons within striking distance, more or less, for most of the contest. But when all's said and done, they're still DePaul, and they've still got six conference wins in their last 82 conference games (take a moment and read that again), and you felt pretty comfortable they weren't getting over the hump in this one. DePaul gonna DePaul, y'all.
Some awards before we turn to the page to Georgetown:
Jae Crowder Player of the Year of the Game: It's hard not to give the nod to a cat who tallied 18 points on just nine attempts from the field, but Vander Blue steps aside today in honor of Junior Cadougan, who's redeemed himself in the last two games after his disastrous turn at Louisville last Sunday. On the day, Cadougan was 8-13 from the field, 1-2 from the line, handed out six assists and, most impressively of all, snared five rebounds.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: OK, Trent Lockett: six points doesn't get my blood pumping, but 4-4 from the stripe looks nice, as does three rebounds, five assists, and the crucial block mentioned earlier. I see you.
Davante "Big Smoove" Gardner Smoove Play of the Game: Ox is the recipient of the award named after himself today; with four minutes left, after DePaul had claimed the lead on a couple of free throws from Cleveland Melvin, Big Smoove somehow found Todd Mayo open for a three-pointer that restored Marquette to the lead.
Up Next: It's Round 2 of the Jesuit Free-For-All, as Marquette travels to Washington, D.C. for a date with the fighting Hoyas of Georgetown.