For the first 10 minutes or so against Southern Jaguars on Friday night, Marquette Golden Eagles had trouble getting the engine out of first gear. Sure, the #18 ranked Golden Eagles were up eight and that meant that they were on pace for an easy victory, but it’s not like you were 100% convinced that it was coming.
And then Markus Howard’s fuse went off.
The junior guard from Arizona went bananas to flip this game right on its head, scoring 15 straight points for the Golden Eagles to bust the game wide open and trigger an 84-41 victory by the time the final horn sounded. Howard finished with 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting — he made his first nine attempts, including a filthy anklebreaking stepback as part of that 15 point run — including a perfect 6-of-6 from behind the arc, and he chipped in a rebound and three steals all in an absurdly efficient 16 minutes.
Again, he scored “just” 26 points in 16 minutes of a 40 minute game and Marquette won by 43. That sentence barely computes. Howard didn’t even play in the final 15:30 of the game, so on some level, head coach Steve Wojciechowski deprived us of yet another insane performance from Howard. On the flipside, he scored 26 points, better than his season average to this point, all in just 16 minutes of action, so it was a pretty insane performance even if wildly abbreviated.
If we’re being honest, if you told someone “hey, Markus Howard went 9-for-10 including all six triples to score 26 points as Marquette won by 43,” the random stranger on the street you’re talking to would say, “why are you grabbing me by the lapels and shouting at me” before presuming that you meant that he played somewhere between 26 and 32 minutes. NOPE! 16, and nothing in the final 15 minutes of the game. That’s nuts!
I’m glad that this happened in this game, because if it had been a 30 minutes performance by Howard to get those numbers, this game would have been a massive drag to try to say anything interesting about in this recap. Southern is an awful basketball team and had no business being put on the schedule, and Marquette got out to a massive lead thanks to Howard and then never looked back while coasting to an incredibly easy victory. There’s not much else to talk about. Sam Hauser missed a double-double by one rebound. Theo John hit all three of his field goals and both of his free throws. Jamal Cain had eight rebounds and four steals. All four walk-ons got into the game and Cam Marotta hit a triple as time was winding down.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
The good news is that KenPom.com has already updated by the time I’m typing this out, and MU moved up one spot to #29 in the country as a result of their dominating victory. I point this out on purpose because the idea of beating an overmatched team and moving up in the rankings is very foreign to.....
Up Next: .... St. John’s, who will host Marquette on New Year’s Day for the first Big East game of the season for the Golden Eagles. The Red Storm are currently 12-0 on the season, but they have zero top 70 wins and have fallen from #40 in KenPom to start the season to their current spot at #51. They’ll be headed out to Newark on Saturday afternoon to visit Seton Hall to start league play before hosting MU next week.