I'm really, really looking forward to Monday's game against Duke. Yeah, yeah I know we had a game today against the South Dakota Coyotes at the Bradley Center, so I apologize in advance if my game recap contains some bad grammar and a few spelling errors. Mrs. Soft Pretzel and I took Mini-Pretzel to the game so needless to say my attention wasn't 100% on the game, but this recap will surve its purpose and then we can all get geared up for Monday's game.
Marquette improved their record to 4-0 with a 82-69 win over South Dakota in a sloppy game that had all the signs of a trap game. Coach Buzz Williams said it best in his opening remarks in the post game press conference when he said we were average at best today. Marquette had a season high 16 turnovers and only made 1 of their 9 three point attempts. Despite the less than stellar performance by the Golden Eagles, the game was really never in doubt. The Coyotes kept themselves from being blown out in the first half by making three pointers, but their three point shooting percentage fell in the second half during their mini-runs off of MU turnovers. Marquette dominated the boards 46-28 and their aggressiveness lead to a 23-6 free throws made advantage, despite shooting only 67.6% from the line.
Marquette's front court depth took a bit of a hit when it was revealed that Joe Fulce was going to miss the game, and possibly more time, due to recurring knee issues and Davante Gardner left early with a shoulder issue. The injuries allowed Chris Otule to post a career high 15 points to go along with 8 boards and 2 blocks in 15 minutes of action. He had several solid post moves including a very nice drop step (no call on the hook with his elbow/shoulder) two-handed slam. It would have been the play of the game if not for the DJO behind the back pass to Jimmy Butler for the emphatic slam on a fast break in the first half.
Player of the Game: Jimmy Butler wins today's POTG Award with his 20 point, 9 rebound (6 offensive), 4 assist and 3 steal performance in 26 minutes. He was 8-10 from the free throw line.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: Since Jimmy won the POTG Award, the Undersung Eagle of the Game has to go to Chris Otule. He appears to be gaining more confidence on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court and for a short period of time today the offense ran thru the post, which hasn't happened since the days of Robert Jackson.
Up next: As previously mentioned, the Golden Eagles' next game is against the #1 Duke Blue Devils in the semifinals of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. The game tips off at 6:30 central time and is being shown on ESPN 2. Obviously this will be Marquette's biggest test to date and they'll need to make a higher percentage of their shots, stay out of foul trouble, and take better care of the ball if they want to stay competitive and possibly beat Duke.