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Marquette Men's Lacrosse Weekend Preview: at Ohio State & vs Detroit

It's time for the yearly Midwest Lacrosse Classic!

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently Ohio State was late for the meetings when the yearly Midwest Lacrosse Classic between OSU, Marquette, Bellarmine, and Detroit was first hammered out.  Last year, Bellarmine hosted the four game event and because they're a friendly bunch down there in Louisville, they streamed the games for free.

This year, with Ohio State hosting? You'll pay for streaming and you'll like it.

The Buckeyes, even with all that Big Ten Network cash rolling in, have adopted the Dollar Bill Wirtz model of television.  They drew just 881 fans for their home opener at their indoor facility, and then for the first game at Ohio Stadium for the year, Ohio State drew 626 fans to their 104K+ stadium.  That's a fairly reasonable lacrosse crowd, mind you, but Ohio State's not trying to build new fans through the use of broadcasts of their team, and they're definitely not going to let fans of opposing teams try to watch their own favorite team.  That goes double for four team, four game events, apparently, as none of the games in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic are being streamed for free, even though they don't involve Ohio State.


Marquette's Zachary Melillo came back down to earth at the faceoff X against Richmond last week.  After winning 69% of his faceoffs against Bellarmine in the season opener, Melillo only won four of his 12 tries against the Spiders.  He's still over 50% on the season (15-28), but we might have gotten over our skis in excitement for the possibility of a spectacular FOGO guy.

While Melillo wasn't as good as he was for MU's first game, the Marquette defense was redonkulous against Richmond.  Sure, the Spiders outshot Marquette 32-24, largely because of a 13-3 second period differential, but MU still held Richmond to just two goals, the lowest amount ever allowed by a Marquette defense.  Goalie Jimmy Danaher made eight saves in the game to boost his save percentage through two games up over 60%, which is nutty for lacrosse.  Danaher's also only allowing 4.5 goals per 60 minutes right now.  I don't expect that to hold up when the weekend is over, but that's one hell of a start.  BJ Grill was named Big East Defensive Player of the Week for his part in MU's effort against Richmond.  The redshirt senior picked up a game high five ground balls and tied with teammate Liam Byrnes for the game high in caused turnovers with three.  Right now, Grill has accounted for nearly a third of MU's caused turnovers and 15% of their ground balls.  That ground ball number goes up to 18% when you knock off the team high eight ground balls that Melillo has recovered.  I mean, he gets credit when he picks up the ball on his own face off win.  It's a little unfair, y'know?

Even with two low scoring games on the docket already, there are six Golden Eagles that have notched multiple points already this season, led by the Minnesota Fireball himself, Ryan McNamara, who has six points on six goals.  Freshman John Wagner has two goals of his own this season, and junior Andy DeMichiei has two helpers on the year.  It's good to see those two guys contributing to the offense, as the more guys who aren't the focal points of McNamara, Conor Gately, and Kyle Whitlow get involved, the more productive Marquette's attack will be.

Game #3: at Ohio State (3-1)

When: Friday, March 4, 2016, at 5pm Central
Where: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH
Audio/Visual: You can pay for Buckeye Vision, if you want. No idea on the cost, but remember that there's another game on Sunday.  There are free live stats, though.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette and Ohio State tangled last year in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic.  It had a memorable finish, as the Golden Eagles outscored the Buckeyes 5-0 in the final quarter to rally from a 9-5 deficit and win, 10-9.  Marquette scored twice in the final two minutes, including the game winner from Kyran Clarke with 11 seconds left.

Kyran Clarke's Game Winner vs. Ohio State

Kyran Clarke scored with 11 seconds left to lead Marquette past Ohio State 10-9 on Sunday, March 1 in Louisville.

Posted by Marquette Lacrosse on Sunday, March 1, 2015

In case you thought THAT wasn't bananas enough, you've got to see/remember what Ohio State did with the final 11 seconds of the game.  Watch the video for Jimmy Danaher's amazing recovery save, then watch it again to catch the reaction of Ohio State's bench.  They go from HOLY CRAP WE TIED IT to HOW THE BLEEP DID HE SAVE THAT in about half a second.

Danaher seals victory over Ohio State

Marquette goalie Jimmy Danaher's save on Ohio State's Carter Brown with one second left helped the Golden Eagles escape with a 10-9 victory on Sunday, March 1 in Louisville.

Posted by Marquette Lacrosse on Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ohio State's 3-1 so far this season, and due to that loss, they've dropped out of the Cascade/Maverik media top 20 after starting at #12.  They had a largely uninspiring win over Furman, where they needed a game winner with four seconds left from John Kelly to wrap up the Paladins.  They stomped Detroit in easy fashion, and then followed that up by getting crushed by UMass, 16-9.  To make that loss even more depressing if you're a Buckeye fan, they were winning 4-3 with 13 minutes left in the second quarter, and it was only 7-6 favoring Massachusetts at the half.  The Minutemen outscored them 9-3 after the break, and OSU actually tied the game at seven on the first goal after intermission.  Awkward.

Their most recent contest was a 12-7 home win over UMBC, where the Buckeyes kept the Terriers out of the net for over 26 straight minutes at one point, including the entire third quarter.  That gets chalked up as a solid team win for Ohio State, with only two players registering more than one goal.

Speaking of team wins, Ohio State's not dominated by any one particular offensive threat.  They've got four guys with eight points on the season already, and two more with seven.  J.T. Blubaugh, Colin Chell, and Eric Fannell are tied for the team lead in goals with six, while Austin Shanks has the lead in assists with five.  The Buckeyes are fairly friendly with each other, as you might expect from the well distributed offensive load, as they've registered 19 assists on 45 goals this season.  Their defense is susceptible to a pass, though, as they've allowed 20 assists on 35 goals this season.

Tom Carey has played all but 1:42 of the season for Ohio State in net.  He's stopping 44% of the shots on frame and allowing 8.81 goals per 60 minutes through four games.

Game #4: vs Detroit (0-3)

When: Sunday, March 6, 2016, at 11am Central
Where: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH
Audio/Visual: You can pay for Buckeye Vision, if you want. No idea on the cost.  There are free live stats, though.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Things are not going well for the Titans this season.  Part of this is not entirely their fault.  They opened up the season against Ohio State, and if you already read the section on the Buckeyes above, then you know I referred that 16-5 loss as "stomped in easy fashion."  It was a game that just kept spiraling out of control for Detroit, as they were down 4-1 after the first quarter, 7-3 at the half, and 10-4 after three periods.  They followed that up with a trip to Georgia where they got squeaked by Mercer, 8-9.  Detroit actually mounted one hell of a comeback in that game, rallying from down 8-3 in the third period to tie the game with 8:32 remaining.  They couldn't get the goal they needed, though, and the Bears finished them off with the game winner with 3:40 remaining.

Detroit's most recent outing was a 14-5 thrashing at the hands of #1 Notre Dame.  Like I said, the 0-3 start isn't entirely their fault.  When you play two ranked teams in your first three games, you're going to struggle, generally speaking.  Then again, I think everyone probably knew Ohio State and Notre Dame were going to be ranked to start the season, so that part's on you, Titans.  Detroit's problem against the Irish was giving up unanswered goals.  The Titans scored first against ND, then gave up seven straight goals before getting one late in the second period to make it 7-2.... and then Notre Dame started a new streak with 36 seconds left in the half.  The Irish ran off five more goals after the break, holding Detroit scoreless in the third, and that was, as they say, that.

Junior Jason Weber has been the target for all but 25 seconds of that offensive overload this season, and to his credit, he's actually got a save percentage of .500 on the season.  I mean, it means he's given up 39 goals to match his 39 saves, but that's a hell of a job when you think about it.  He might be better served by having some folding chairs out there for close defense instead of his teammates, but you get my point.  Andy Hebden leads the Detroit offense with six goals and a team high seven points as well.  Mark Anstead and Sean Birney have both notched four assists, combining for eight of the 11 team assists on 18 goals this season.