There, That's Better: No. 24 Marquette 70, South Florida 47

USA TODAY Sports

Marquette got back on track Wednesday night with a much needed throttling of USF

So, Sunday's game at Louisville didn't go so well. For the most part, that's fine. Pretty much everyone had that one penciled in as an L since the schedule was announced. But one guaranteed way to change the tone from "meh, no biggy" to "what the hell is wrong with this team?" would be to come out and have a misstep Wednesday night in Tampa. Fortunately, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles appeared to be very aware of that fact when they took the floor against South Florida for the second time in 10 days. Also fortunately, USF is not good.

Marquette opened the scoring with a Junior Cadougan 4-point play, and that seemed to set the theme of the night: South Florida miscues leading to Marquette points. MU led by 5 at the first TV timeout, and by 10 at the second TV timeout. An 11-0 run in the middle of the half extended the lead to 18 and the pretty much broke the game open. USF continued to inexplicably dribble into traffic and the opportunistic Golden Eagles were perfectly happy to turn those mistakes into easy buckets. By half the lead had ballooned to 23, and things were pretty much academic from there.

Marquette wasn't the model of sharpness in the second half, but it really didn't matter. The closest USF ever got was 20. And on a night when the road was unkind to a lot of teams around the Big East, and around the country, MU takes care of business and wins the laugher that we had long been waiting for.

Other Notes:

  • After dropping 30 on the Bulls last Monday, Vander Blue had a quiet 13 points on 5-11 shooting in this one. But he scored all but 2 of those points the second half, and was a big reason that South Florida never even threatened to threaten.
  • There was some speculation as to whether or not USF might have any plans to retaliate against Davante Gardner for the elbow he delivered to the noggin of Zach Leday in the teams' first meeting. There were no such shenanigans directed towards Davante. However, the Bulls' behemoth of a man, Jordan Omogbehin, did receive a "Flagrant 1" after getting tangled up with Chris Otule, late in the second half.
  • The Marquette defense was pretty good Wednesday, holding South Florida to just 16 points in the first half and 47 for the game. But it's hard to say exactly how good, because South Florida was so bad on offense.
  • I continue to be confounded by Jamil Wilson. I don't know if my expectations are just completely out of whack or what, but I keep waiting for more and it never comes. Tonight there were a few times when he was able to take his man off the dribble and get to the rim. I thought "Yes! Do that more!" Then I would shake my head as he settled for jumpers on his next 5 shots. Maybe that's what he's being asked to do, and the coaches don't want him attacking the rack all the time? I don't know. But I just wonder sometimes. Wednesday: 10 points, 3-9 shooting.
  • Mike Patrick was on the call for this one. I like Mike. I have enjoyed hearing him call games over the years. I think he seems like a nice enough guy and I wish him no ill will. But he just does not seem sharp. His repeated mispronunciations of names and simply creating incorrect names out of thin air (Zach Mayo), are tough to watch.
  • Four players scored in double figures for MU and Davante Gardner was not one of them. I found that surprising.
  • Remember: All road wins are good wins. Especially down in the Sun Dome, where weird s**t happens every now and again.
Some awards and we'll call it a day.

Jae Crowder Player of the Year of the Game: One reason that Vander didn't score at the same clip in this meeting with USF is because Todd Mayo had the hot hand early on. Todd scored all 13 of his points in the first half. He scored 9 straight points during the run that turned the tide permanently in Marquette's favor. It was a nice day for a guy that has been suspiciously quiet lately.

Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: Chris Otule. Even before Laphonso Ellis began singing his praises, I already had plans to tap Big Chris for the Fulce Award tonight. Otule's line wasn't anything to get worked up about - 6 points, 2 boards in 21 minutes. But he was very active in this game. There were a number of balls that he didn't rebound himself, but tapped out for his teammates to corral. He was also doing a fantastic job of creating space and driving lanes in the lane. And besides all that, we know the kid isn't quite right after all the injuries, but he's still out there giving it hell and I respect that.

Davante "Big Smoove" Gardner Smooth Play of the Game: Big Chris put the exclamation point on this win with a MONSTER tip dunk late in the second half. The slow-mo replay showed how far that rim flexed. If he'd thrown it down any harder it might've ended up on this highlight reel.

Up Next: "Nice Man" Oliver Purnell and the Depaul Blue Demons head north on I-94 to take on Marquette at the BMOHBC, Saturday at 1:00 CST. Hopefully everyone will turn out to pack the house. See you there!
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