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A 20 Win Season: #18/19 Marquette 89, DePaul 76

Marquette's defense picked up where it left off on Saturday in South Bend.

DePaul hit 7 of their first 8 shots, starting with a Charles McKinney dunk off of the opening tip and including a Jamee Crockett three pointer where Vander Blue picked up his 2nd foul of the game after just 3:48 seconds of play. In fact, DePaul didn't have a second miss until the 13:27 mark of the first half.

What was different for Marquette was that their offense was firing right along side DePaul's offense. As much as ESPNU play-by-play man Carter Blackburn would like to tell you different, when DePaul picked up that second miss, the score was 20-16 in favor of the Blue Demons.

But it was a mid-first half swoon that caused problems for Marquette. Four straight misses by the Golden Eagles turned into an 11-0 run by DePaul capped off by a Cleveland Melvin three pointer - his second made three in Big East play - to put Marquette in a 12 point hole with 5:53 remaining in the half.

That's when Darius Johnson-Odom said "Screw this." DJO went on a personal 9-2 run against DePaul to cut the deficit to 5 and two Jae Crowder free throws and a steal on a DePaul inbounds on the other end had MU going to the half down just three.

Six and a half minutes later, Marquette was up 10. The lead would eventually push to as high as 16 on a Crowder layup as Marquette imposed their will on both ends of the floor en route to their 20th win of the season. Marquette has won at least 20 games for the 7th consecutive season and for the 9th time in 11 seasons. The upside here is that today is February 7th. Marquette didn't get win number 20 last season until March 9th against West Virginia in the Big East Tournament.

Hit the jump and we'll cover some notes and hand out some awards.

  • As I said, Marquette's offense was firing early in the game, which has not been the case when Marquette has gotten off to a poor start defensively. I asked this question on Twitter last night, so I ask it again: If Marquette can play the kind of defense that wiped out the 12 point lead and put them up 10 early in the second half, why can't they play like that at the start of the game? Why are teams constantly coming out hot against Marquette? Is Buzz adjusting the defense in game to what teams do to start out?
  • ESPNU's Carter Blackburn had at least 2 different pronunciations for Junior Cadougan's last name before analyst Mike Kelley must have smacked him during a time out and told him to read page 9 of the game notes. Marquette obviously has a number of staffers that aren't the coaches at every game. Why is it so hard for TV guys to either A) read the game notes or B) ask a Marquette employee about how to pronounce names that they aren't 100 percent sure on?
  • All five Marquette starters cracked double digits in points, and that's without being able to count Junior's AWESOME dunk. The ball caught in the net and popped back out, marking an all time record of how far down a shot has gone before coming back out.

Four Factors:

eFG%: MU - 54.9% DePaul - 52.4%
TO%: MU - 12.5% DePaul - 16.8%
OReb%: MU - 30% DePaul - 29.7%
FT Rate: MU - 37.7% DePaul - 25.4%

Points Per Possession: MU - 1.24 DePaul - 1.06

Jimmy Butler Player Of The Game: DJO led the team in scoring at 23 and Jae Crowder had yet another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. But we're going to go with Jamil Wilson here. Wilson also posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds and a team high 3 offensive rebounds. He also chipped in three assists, two blocks and two steals while playing 39 minutes. Let's be honest: Marquette needed a big game from Wilson here and they got it.

Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle Of The Game: I already know what complaints I'm going to get for this. "BUT HE HAD A TEAM HIGH THREE TURNOVERS! HE'S THE TORONTO TURNOVER MACHINE!" When your assist/turnover ratio is 2.67/1, it gets really had to complain. Junior Cadougan had 8 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal to go along with his 10 points. I'll sign up for that from Junior every night, even if it does get lost in the shuffle behind two double-doubles from his teammates.

Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play Of The Game: With 8:38 left in the game, DePaul's Brandon Young clanked a three pointer off the back of the rim. The long rebound ended up with Jamil Wilson who got the outlet to Junior Cadougan. With everyone in transition, Cadougan stole a page from Canadian basketball icon Steve Nash and ripped a 1 handed bounce pass about 25 feet to a cutting Jae Crowder who laid it in for an easy 2.

Up Next: NATIONAL ANNOY SYRACUSE FANS MARQUETTE DAY! The Cincinnati Bearcats come to Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon. If you'll be in attendance, be sure to wear gold for the Gold Out!