Well, it’s official: Marquette men’s basketball won a game by playing defense in the 2018-19 season.
Pretty solid decision to do it in game #1, honestly.
UMBC shot 22.6% from the field for the game and under 20% in the second half as Marquette meandered away from them over 40 minutes for the 67-42 victory. MU moves to 1-0 on the season and 1-0 in the brand new Fiserv Forum.
We have to say that Marquette won this game with defense, because they sure as hell didn’t win it with what has been their trademark fireball offense over the past two seasons under the guidance of Steve Wojciechowski. While UMBC couldn’t hit the broad side of an aircraft carrier, Marquette wasn’t much better, shooting just 40% for the game and an amazingly awful 25% from behind the three-point line.
Seriously, though: If I had told you that Markus Howard and Sam Hauser were going to shoot a collective 5-for-20 from behind the three-point line, what would you have guessed the final margin was? I’m guessing that you wouldn’t have said “win by 25.” And yet, that’s what happened here.
Even wilder about the whole proceeding? The general accepted thought process over the summer was “merely adding Ed Morrow and Joseph Chartouny to the rotation will provide a big boost to the defense.” Morrow started and played seven minutes. Chartouny came off the bench and played 16. Collectively, according to the official box score on GoMarquette.com, the two finished -7. Hey, I’ve said over and over on this website that I don’t care for plus/minus as a basketball stat due to the team nature of the game, but when you sandblast an opponent while having an off-night on offense and your two biggest defensive additions are the only two guys on the roster with a negative +/-, you gotta feel pretty good about things going forward.
As Wojo said after the Carroll exhibition, there’s no reason to worry about shots not falling. They’ll come eventually. And hey, yeah, maybe UMBC is nowhere near the team that won the America East tournament last season. It’s still a win, over a relatively competent basketball team, and it was acquired by shutting them down.
Big gold star in the book, as far as I’m concerned.
We could have spent a whole bunch of time talking about play by play here, but Marquette was up at least 14 essentially the entire second half after being up 10 for wide swaths of the first half. blah blah blah UMBC made a first half rally blah blah blah cut it to four blah blah blah 9-0 run blah blah blah neither team scored for a long stretch in the second half. There you go.
How about some highlights, courtesy of Fox Sports and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette returns to action on Saturday back out on the Fiserv Forum court when they host Bethune-Cookman. The Wildcats don’t get their season started until tomorrow night when they visit DePaul.