It wasn't the prettiest 18-point win you'll ever see, but thanks to a career-best effort from Sandy Cohen III, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles eventually righted the ship and powered past the pesky Spartans of San Jose State, 80-62, this evening at the Bradley Center.
As they did in the last two games, Marquette came out like a bull in a china shop, threatening to run San Jose State out of the gym before the first media timeout. The ball movement was crisp, the Spartans were icy cold from the floor, and Cohen was a man possessed, as he buried five early 3-pointers and had notched a career-high 17 points by the under-12 media timeout. After Duane Wilson hit a 3 of his own at the midpoint of the half, it was 31-7 good guys and the proceedings were threatening to get downright silly.
To say the next 10 minutes left something to be desired, however, would qualify as a hefty understatement. Marquette couldn't even manage a point a minute for the rest of the half, and Cohen was shut out after his torrid start. MU didn't score for the final three minutes of the half and was suddenly springing leaks all over on the defensive end, and before you knew it, the margin was down to nine at the half, 40-31.
Things got off to an ignominious beginning in the second half when Traci Carter's lazy entry pass was intercepted and Cody Schwartz converted a traditional 3-point play to slash Marquette's lead to 6. But after a quiet first half, Henry Ellenson went to work, scoring six of MU's next eight points to boost the lead back to double digits. Cohen's sixth triple stretched the advantage back to 13, but San Jose State wouldn't go away, using a Frank Rogers 3-pointer and a tip in from Brandon Clarke to cut the lead to 7.
Every time MU threatened to run away with things, San Jose State had an answer -- thanks, in part, to some very poor all-around play from Carter, who turned the ball over four times, was 2-8 from the field, and drew an inexcusable T (even if the refereeing was, to put it kindly, sort of a shitshow) that allowed SJSU to draw within 8. But the Golden Eagles finally found the haymaker they'd been looking for with a 9-0 run, punctuated by an alley-oop to Luke Fischer from Wilson, and the lead ballooned to 17 on Wilson's triple with three minutes left, and the Spartans would get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Cohen is your obvious man of the match with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, but that line is all the more impressive when you consider Sandy scored 20 of those points in a (combined) eight-minute stretch of floor time. Hank was no slouch either with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Fischer turned in his latest double-double effort with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
With the win, Marquette improves to 7-2 on the year and is riding a six-game winning streak into Madison on Saturday.
Bucky is next.