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The Quick and at times very Dirty: #20 Marquette 92, North Dakota 66

Howard and elder Hauser shoot lights out

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NCAA Basketball: North Dakota at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Okay so let me set the scene: I watched the Marquette game on my laptop because I’m spending Christmas break in good ‘ole Southlake, Texas. Yup, you guessed it, that’s where I grew up. So I watched the Marquette game on my laptop while also keeping an eye on the Buffalo vs Syracuse game because that one is important for Marquette as you will find out later this week.

Okay that’s enough editorializing, now to the game. There’s two types of dirty. There’s the dirty that you cringe at because it’s gross and hard to swallow. Then there’s the filthy dirty that you sometimes call a certain player (aka Markus Howard) when they catch fire. Both types were apparent in this game.

If you tuned in roughly 10 minutes into the game...good for you. You missed absolutely nothing good. Unless you like turnovers...13 of them to be exact by the Golden Eagles in the first half, 10 of which were in the first 10 minutes. It was actually a close game as UND cut the lead to 1 with just less than 9 minutes left before halftime. That’s the cringeworthy type of dirty. Let’s tiptoe around that and get to the main storyline.

Around halfway through the first 20 minutes, Markus Howard went into filth mode and decided he would make an impact on the game. And boy did he ever...19 points in a span of what seemed like five minutes. At one point, a graphic popped up that said Howard had 14 of Marquette’s last 18 points. When he's feeling it, there’s just no stopping him and it’s so fun to watch.

I’m starting to notice a trend with Howard. He seems go crazy when he’s sick or injured. In this one, he got hit in the thigh really early and was noticeably limping which led to him being taken out momentarily. He was rather quickly reintroduced into the game. And subsequently sucked the life out of the Fighting Hawks with his precision shooting. Let us not forget he was sick when he dropped 45 on K-State.

When Howard plays like this, it motivates the entire team to raise their game as well. The Golden Eagles got going. I mean they reallyyyy got going, shooting above 60% from the field over the first 20 minutes. Bye bye North Dakota. Next thing you know it’s 49-27 at the half. Great, I’ll settle for a 22 point lead and completely ignore the plethora (hey look, SAT word!) of turnovers committed. Thankfully, Howard makes you forget that kind of thing when he works his magic.

The second half started rather nicely as the Golden Eagles continued moving the ball around well and their lead swelled to as much as 30 points. All nice and dandy until my feed cut out with about 15 minutes left in the half so I had to resort to the play-by-play on the ESPN app. Oh how frustrating the internet can be at times... Anyway, Marquette went on a four ish minute scoring drought midway through the 2nd that didn't affect them at all since they were already up by 20+ points and used alert defense and well-timed baskets to ride the game out to a 26-point victory.

Let’s throw out two final stat lines that are very fun to look at:

  • Markus Howard: 26 points, 70%!!! FG (9-13), 67% 3P (4-6)
  • Sam Hauser: 21 points, 64% FG (7-11), 63% 3P (5-8)

Ed Morrow added an efficient 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The Golden Eagles finished the game shooting 59% from the field, made 11-20 from three, and went a perfect 13-13 from the line. Oh and free personal pizzas from Pizza Hut for everyone in attendance as well because they reached 90 points! Great way to cap off an expected blowout victory by the Golden Eagles. All is well that ends well my friends.

Up Next: Marquette will host the #14 ranked Buffalo Bulls who pulled away late to beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome tonight. The Bulls are undefeated at 11-0 with key victories against then #13 West Virginia and now away at Syracuse.