Markus Howard, First of His Name, Breaker of Ankles, Ripper of Nets, Destroyer of Defenses, and King of the North.
Seriously, the only thing you really need to know about this game, other than Marquette snagging the 95-90 win over Providence in overtime, is that Markus Howard put the team on his back while scoring 52 points! The new Marquette school record for points in a game (and a tie with Providence’s Marshon Brooks for the record in a conference game) came on 17/29 shooting overall and 11/19 from three.
The way that Howard put the team on his back down the stretch you would have never guessed that he started the game 2/8 and there was talk of his shooting slump continuing. Howard put that talk to rest with a personal 8-0 run to start the second half to give your Marquette Golden Eagles a 7 point lead. However, like the rest of the leads held by either team throughout the game, it didn’t last for very long. Providence cut the lead back down to 1 with 15 minutes remaining in the game on an Alpha Diallo layup. From there the score ping-ponged back and forth with Marquette eventually taking their largest lead of the game with 7:32 left on another Howard three that stretched the Marquette lead to 8. However, the Friars, much like their creepy mascot, didn’t go away. Marquette went on a four minute scoring drought from 6:28 to 2:11 in which Providence took a 6 point lead and I nearly threw my phone into my television.
Markus Howard seemed to sense my pain and decided to score 10 points over the final 2:11 including a banked in three and an and-1 with 28 seconds left to tie the game. The following Providence possession ended with Greg Elliott knocking the ball off Kyron Cartright’s leg and returning the ball to Marquette with 4.8 seconds on the game clock, but Andrew Rowsey left the potentially game winning three just short and the game went into OT. After a heart attack inducing regulation, Marquette started overtime with another Howard three, giving him 45 points and at the time and officially pushing him past the previous Marquette record of 44 by both Tony Smith and Mike Moran. Howard finished overtime with 10 points in the extra period, giving him the aforementioned single game record 52 points on the night and ensure that the Golden Eagles would be able to remember the night on a positive note.
The big story of the game was Markus Howard but I still need to mention the grit that Sam Hauser showed at the end of overtime. Hauser did not have a great statistical game and passed up on a pretty open three with about 1:50 left which resulted in a poor pass that turned into a steal. Hauser got a chance to redeem himself with an open three to put Providence away with 16 seconds left, Hauser did not even think about passing and buried the three for the dagger to end any chance of a Providence comeback.
Overall, Marquette won a game that they should have, as Providence’s leading scorer, Rodney Bullock was out with the flu (Although they did not win it in the manner I expected). It was not the prettiest game ever played (sans everything Howard did) but Marquette won and improved their tournament stock by improving to 2-0 in true road games this season. Other than the godly performance from Howard, the most noticeable part of the game was the foul trouble on both teams. Marquette had three players foul out (Matt Heldt, Greg Elliott, and Sacar Anim) plus Andrew Rowsey who played much of the game in foul trouble after picking up three in the first half, and Providence had players in foul trouble the whole game.
Many people on Twitter, including myself, vented our frustrations in a less than constructive way, and all I’m going to say about that is that the game was officiated pretty uniformly in my opinion and that any gripes with the officials probably has more to do with how college basketball is officiated in general than with this specific crew. On that note, I’m pretty much done, if you want to tune in tomorrow for our “Three Things” which I am positive will go more in depth on the historic performance from Markus Howard.