Ever seen a guy score 45 points on 17 shots before?
If you hadn’t seen it before and you watched Marquette beat #12 Kansas State 83-71 on Saturday afternoon, then you definitely have seen it now. Markus Howard was electric, torching the Wildcats for 40% shooting outside the arc, a perfect 7-for-7 shooting inside the arc, and 19 free points from the charity stripe. On top of that, he grabbed two rebounds, dished an assist, snared a steal, and personally issued the fifth foul of the game to both Makol Mawein and KSU’s best player, Dean Wade.
Did it all in just 35 minutes, too.
By the by, those 45 points are the most points ever scored by a Marquette player in a regulation game. Howard had 42 when regulation ended in Providence last year and tacked on 10 more for the new single game record. Howard’s 45 here eclipsed the record previously held by Tony Smith and Mike Moran. Howard’s 52 last year and his 45 on Saturday are now the two highest single game point totals in Marquette history.
As these things tend to go, the entire game tilted on Howard’s free throw shooting. Through the first 11 minutes or so, we were watching a very good basketball game. Marquette had never led yet, but they had tied it a couple of times and KSU was never up more than four points. And then Howard made one of his standard issue counterclockwise curls around the halfcourt and the sideline official on Howard’s destination side had clearly had enough of Barry Brown. He rang up Brown for his second foul of the game with an incredibly disdainful body language that said either “I am sick of watching you clutch and grab at that dude while he runs away from you” or “I told you 10 seconds ago that I’m going to whistle a foul the next time you clutch and grab at that dude while he runs away from you.” One of the two. Brown, for whatever it’s worth was shocked to get rung up for this and very clearly immediately said a magic word. BOOM, technical foul.
Markus Howard then went on a personal 4-0 blast against the Wildcats without even moving from the free throw line. A 20-17 Wildcat lead was now a 21-20 Marquette lead and the Fiserv Forum was extremely enthused about the entire proceedings. Flash forward about a minute, and Wade commits a turnover, which ends up with Brandon Bailey, who finds Howard streaking to the three-point line. BANG. 7-0 Howard run, Marquette up four.
Flash forward another minute. Howard grabs one of his two rebounds, zips down the court, gets to the rim, drops the layup, draws the foul, and one, automatic from the stripe. 10 straight points from the Arizona native, and Marquette’s suddenly up seven with 6:35 to go in the half.
Markus Howard took two minutes out of his day and personally ruined Bruce Weber’s entire weekend, and let me tell you what: I am HERE. FOR. IT.
Now, K-State’s not a bunch of humps, and before long, they had whittled the lead back down to three. But Marquette clearly liked when the fans were going bannananananananas, and so they decided to bring that noise back. 15-4 run for the Golden Eagles down the stretch to lead by 14, although a Wade three — the only bucket of the first half for KSU’s leader in points, rebounds, and assists — made the lead 11 at the break.
The second half started.... well, if you watched the Kansas game, you probably started having heart palpitations. The Wildcats scored the first four points out of the intermission to make it a 7-0 run and trim the lead to seven. Wojo called time out, read everyone the riot act (presumably), and sparked an 8-0 run, with all eight points coming from — YOU GUESSED IT — Markus Howard. Three of ‘em on free throws. Marquette up 15.
The rest of the half was a lot of me reacting to anything K-State did that was good for them by saying “eh, whatever, we’re up [insert number between 10 and 17]. The Wildcats never really went away, but they also never really challenged the Golden Eagles, either. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Wade fouled out with just under eight minutes to play. By the way: He had zero fouls at halftime. He committed all five personal fouls between the 14:54 mark and the 7:57 mark of the second half, and four of them came within three minutes of each other. Thanks to some quality defense by the Golden Eagles in the first half and/or a totally insane gameplan by Bruce Weber, Wade never really had the ball all that often in the first half and was irrevocably removed from the game after just nine minutes of action in the second. He came in averaging 16.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists, again, all team best for Kansas State. But Marquette jammed him into The Sunken Place for the entire game, and he walked out of the building with just 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists.
With Howard carrying the heaviest of loads, the rest of the squad was just filling in the cracks around him, although Sacar Anim did have 16 points. Joey Hauser, Brendan Bailey, Joseph Chartouny, and Ed Morrow combined for a 7-for-13 shooting performance in support, and Chartouny added seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. You’ve probably noticed the lack of Sam Hauser discussion here, and well, that’s for a reason. The junior forward was held to just four points on four free throws, as he went 0-for-2 from behind the arc on his only field goal attempts. He did have six rebounds, an assist, and two steals, so it’s not like he was doing nothing out there. It’s still weird to say “Marquette handled the #12 team in the country relatively easily while Sam Hauser missed all of his field goal attempts” though.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com? I expect Markus Howard will be featured heavily.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will be back in action at Fiserv Forum for their next game, and oh, did you hear that MU has never lost at Fiserv Forum? It’s true! UTEP comes to town on Tuesday night, and as of this writing, they are 0-4 against Division 1 foes with a home date against Northwestern State on Saturday night. That should be a win for MU, but hey, who knows?