Good morning... Oh it's 1:30 pm? Well, it's morning to me! Gotta love those Saturday night games! Well, I hope everyone has had their Gatorade and Advil. Let's finish recapping the win over The Fightin' Wardles of UWGB.
As I believe I mentioned last night, the first half was kind of a bucket of yuck. Marquette let Green Bay hang around just enough to be annoying. Playing without the services of Chris Otule (knee), Jamil Wilson (ankle) and Juan Anderson (shoulder), the Golden Eagles were left with only Jae Crowder and Davante Gardner as true frontcourt players. This meant there was a lot of tinkering with lineups and strategies in the first half, as Buzz Williams and the staff tried to find out what was going to work for their suddenly small squad. Sprinkle in a 13-31 1st half shooting performance, and you get just a 9 point lead at the half.
But the game wasn't as close as that score would indicate. Marquette came out swinging in the second half. Green Bay called timeout after a Gardner hoop and 1, in an effort to stem the tide. But by the first TV timeout, the good guys were up by 16 and never really looked back. The Phoenix threatened to make a run about midway through the 2nd half. They cut the lead to 11 but would never get any close. MU kept them at arm's length as they rolled to the 79-61 victory. Not a thing of beauty, but plenty good enough for this night.
Kris Kross will make ya...
- I'm not a worrier by nature, but the loss of Otule has me a bit concerned. Getting outrebounded in this game 36-33 didn't do a ton to alleviate that.
- I was very interested to see how Gardner would respond to the challenge presented to him with the absence of Big Chris. I would have to say he held up well in this game. He played 30 minutes (which has to be a career high, but I'm too lazy to look it up) scored 14 points on 6-11 shooting, grabbed 7 boards (6 of them offensive), and even played a little defense - denying entry passes to GB's 7-footer Alec Brown. But he also had trouble offensively in spots against the taller Brown. And Brown did score a game high 22 points and grab 14 rebounds. So it wasn't all good, but I still feel like it was a positive outing for the Big Fella.
- Another technique that Marquette employed last night to try and cope with their lack of size was a little 2-2-1, 3/4 Court press. It resulted in at least one Green Bay turnover and at least two instances of Jamail Jones standing all by himself under the hoop, trying unsuccessfully to stop a 2 on 1 break. We'll say that one probably needs a little more work.
- Todd Mayo is a freshman. And sometimes freshman can look a little freshmanie. Saturday was one of those nights for Todd, or at least it was for the first 34 minutes of the game. He sank 4 of his last 5 shots to help rescue his evening.
- This was not a game that Junior Cadougan will want to relive anytime soon. It was just not his night. Junior did hand out 6 helpers, but turned the ball over 6 times, shot just 2-5 from the floor and just looked a little bit out of whack all night.
- Green Bay did employ our nemesis, the 2-3 zone, in spots Saturday. In the first half we looked flummoxed by it. In the second, we attacked it with little problem. That's pretty much the tale of the game in general.
- And just so no one forgets, I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that Vander Blue is damn good.
Are you guys into awards? Me too!
Player of the Game: Jae Crowder is threatening to force us to rename this award. On an evening where a lot of things didn't go great, Jae carried the Golden Eagles once again. He dropped 21 points, on 7-12 shooting, 4-6 from beyond the arc, and 3-4 from the line. And on a night when he was often guarding a guy that had 7 inches on him, Jae also grabbed 7 boards and threw in 3 steals and 2 blocks for good measure.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: It's kind of hard to be undersung when everyone in the arena is watching to see how you perform under some adverse circumstances. Despite that I'll give the nod to Davante Gardner. I really liked the energy he played with and his overall activity level on both ends of the floor.
Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play of the Game: Vander Blue had two highlight reel dunks in this one. The first was off of a lob from Junior Cadougan, that Vander hammered home with two hands. The second was an absolutely sick, one-hand throw down, with a foul. It was the kind of dunk it looked like he had no chance of finishing, but he did and made it look easy. It made DJO's dunk in last year's GB game look like child's play. Someone find me that video right now!