If you had “watch a team give up a 16-2 run but still win by 18” on your basketball bingo card AND you watched tonight’s Marquette men’s basketball game against DePaul, well, go ahead and mark the box.
Marquette exploded out to a big lead over the middle 20 minutes of the game, gave a bunch of those points back, and coasted to the easy victory over the largely hapless Blue Demons on Monday night at the Bradley Center, winning 70-52 in a game that wasn’t particularly fun to watch.
Technically this counts as a good defensive performance by the Golden Eagles, keeping the scoring way down and holding DePaul to an effective field goal percentage of just 31%. It just never felt like Marquette was the team that was causing DePaul’s problems. Given Marquette’s overall difficulties playing defense this season, it’s hard to give the Golden Eagles a bunch of credit for three DePaul starters — Tre’Darius McCallum, Max Strus, and Eli Cain — combining to shoot 8-for-32 (25%) in the game. Even a lot of DePaul’s 17 turnovers weren’t really the result of Marquette’s efforts. At least two of Marin Maric’s five giveaways were merely just the big man getting a little too exited to drive against Matt Heldt and shuffling his feet first.
On the other side of the court, Marquette wasn’t exactly a sterling example of offensive efficiency themselves. The Golden Eagles coughed it up 16 times, although to be fair, 11 of them came in the second half. MU shot an uncharacteristically bad 33% from the three-point line, largely due to a 2-for-10 from Andrew Rowsey. Markus Howard was held to a quiet seven points on 2-of-7 shooting, and head coach Steve Wojciechowski said after the game that the Arizona sharpshooter was feeling under the weather for the last three days.
Thankfully, Marquette got quality performances from the rest of the roster. Sam Hauser was his usual reliable self, going for 19 points, seven rebounds, an assists, two blocks, and two steals. A couple of guys veered very close to double-double territory, with Harry Froling assembling maybe his best game at Marquette with 6/9/2 and a block, and Jamal Cain had 8/7/1 and a steal.
I could talk about the goings on in the game, but what’s the point, really? It’s pretty self explanatory. Marquette was up eight, 21-13 at the 10 minute mark of the first half, and outscored DePaul 20-8 over the next 10 minutes to effectively end the game at the break. Coming out of the locker room, MU outscored the Blue Demons 20-10 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. That blew the game so wide open, I was shocked to see a tweet from MU Wire reporter John Steppe pointing out that DePaul was on a 16-2 run late in the game. I had no idea, it didn’t really seem like it, and it seriously didn’t matter. Once MU was up by 30, the lead didn’t go under 20 until there was under four minutes left, dipping as low as 16 when Strus registered DePaul’s first made three-pointer of the game...... with 2:29 to play. Whoop-de-doo.
Marquette won. DePaul was bad. The earth continued to turn.
There are some nifty highlights along the way, so check them out, courtesy of Fox Sports and GoMarquette.com:
Up Next: Well, it’s gonna be a while. Marquette doesn’t play again until next week Wednesday when they visit Xavier, and that will be followed up with a home date against Villanova. It’s kind of a well-timed bye-week if you think about it. The Golden Eagles are already in good position in terms of the post-season, and if they could steal one of the next two..... hoooboy, things could get fun.