Grass is green, the sky is blue, the Pope is Catholic, and Marquette shot the lights out while picking up a 95-69 win over Chicago State on Wednesday night. More specifically, Andrew Rowsey and Markus Howard shot the ball better than ever done in the history of Marquette basketball. The two starting guards for Marquette combined to make 17 out of 27 three point shots attempted tonight, and no, you didn't read that wrong. Howard made an single player school record 11 threes tonight and Rowsey added another 6 to beat the school record of 15 by themselves. Jamal Cain added one more trey on five attempts and that brought the total to 18, a new Marquette record. However, you already knew Marquette could shoot the lights out so here are the other things hat happened tonight.
The first half of this game was rough on defense to say the least. If Marquette hopes to cash in on their NCAA tournament aspirations they need to play better defense and not give up 40 points in a half against a pitiful Chicago State offense. However, as bad as the defense was in the first half it was surprisingly sound in the second, only surrendering 29 points some of which were given up late in the game once walk-ons Cam Marotta and Mike Lelito had checked into the game. I was impressed with the defense brought by the freshman as Greg Elliott and Jamal Cain managed to frustrate the Chicago State guards with their length in the second half. Although Theo John fouled out (again), it is hard to deny that he alters shots in the paint. Once he realizes he doesn't need to swat every shot into the fifth row to make an impact, he should be a top level rim protector.
Now that I have gotten myself started on Greg Elliott I might as well discuss how important he was to the team tonight. Elliott managed to set a career high and lead the team tonight with nine assists. If you add in his six rebounds, scrappy defense, a steal, a block, and two dunks, you get the cocktail for a perfect glue guy. Over the last couple games, Elliott has shown himself to be a more than capable defender and at least semi-competent to perfectly acceptable offensive player. This is huge for a team that has offensive firepower out the wazoo and lacks natural ability on defense. Earlier in the year, I said that Sacar Anim was the X-factor on this team and I think he has done a very good job so far, but its pretty clear to me now that Elliott is the real X-factor this season.
This game was exactly what Marquette needed after the heart attack inducing fiasco that was Monday’s contest against Eastern Illinois. Marquette shot the freaking lights out, played one more half of defense than normal, and got some more valuable experience to the greenhorns who are going to be crucial......
Up Next: ..... as things kick into high gear in this upcoming three game run of Georgia, Vermont, and those lousy jerks 90 miles to the west. The Bulldogs are coming into the Bradley Center with a record of 5-1 and are fresh off an upset of then-#21 Saint Mary’s.