Another game, another Jekyll and Hyde performance for your Marquette Golden Eagles. This time, the good guys showed up in the second half and absolutely blew the doors off the St. John's Red Storm.
Let's get the first half out the way first. Jae Crowder continued to find foul trouble with a foul only 24 seconds into the game. After his second foul at the 16:42 mark, it was back to the bench for the Absolut Weapon.
With Crowder on the bench, Marquette struggled to defend down low, giving up multiple deep touches to God'sgift Achiuwa and Moe Harkless. Davante Gardner was also getting lost on high screens and St John's had multiple easy looks at the bucket. Fortunately for MU, the Johnnies missed on multiple no-footers and couldn't extend the lead.
Marquette led 12-11 when Darius Johnson-Odom went to the bench with his second foul. It was officially "uh-oh" time for Marquette fans. St. John's seized the opportunity and spun off an 8-0 run to take an 18-12 before the cavalry returned.
Marquette steadied for the rest of the half, getting 14 points from Davante Gardner as Crowder and DJO rotated out of the game to protect against a third foul. When all was said and done, St. John's held a 32-31 lead at the break.
The fun second half recap and awards after the jump!
The second half started a bit ominously as the Johnnies got two layups on their first three possessions to lead 36-33. There was no need to worry as DJO awoke from his first half struggles to lead a quick 9-0 run, scoring 5 points in less than a minute. After exchanging baskets, MU went on another torrid stretch, outscoring the Red Storm 27-9 over the next 8 minutes.
The Golden Eagles were aided by nine St. John's turnovers during the 38-11 stretch including coughing up the ball on four straight possessions. Those turnovers led to multiple run-outs and easy lay-ups on the offensive side. Marquette attacked the rim at will and converted.
Another contributing factor was D'Angelo Harrison fouling out at the 11:23 mark. St. John's was clearly rattled and scored only two points over the next 5 minutes.
For the night, Marquette shot 56% from the field, including 62% on 2-point field goals and 68% overall in the second half. The lead ballooned to 25 at one point in the second half of this surprising laugher.
On to the happy awards:
Jimmy Butler Player of the Game: Davante Gardner is the easy choice. The Big Ox had 22 & 15 on 8-13 shooting with 6 offensive boards and only 1 foul until well into the 2nd half. For those of you scoring at home, Davante Gardner has two points-rebounds double doubles to ZERO for Fab Melo. A golf clap is in order for Darius Johnson-Odom, who poured in 20 to go along with 6 assists. DJO was a quite efficient 7-11 from the field.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of The Game: Despite 2-7 shooting, Junior Cadougan gets the nod. Junior had 7 assists to 2 turnovers to go along with 2 steals. Solid work for the Canadian.
Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play of the Game: Big Smooth takes another category on his huge night. At the 7:08 mark of the 2nd, the big guy got out on the break, received a nice bounce pass from DJO, didn't properly jump stop and delivered a monster dunk to put MU up 22. There were smiles all around and much rejoicing.
Up Next: Marquette continues the three game home stand with a game against Pittsburgh at 1pm on Saturday. For those of you not paying much attention, Pitt is kind of a tire fire right now. Here's to continuing their misery.