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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs St. John’s Red Storm

A potentially Markus Howard-free Golden Eagles squad rematches with a scorching hot St. John’s team

St. John's v Gonzaga Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Marquette Golden Eagles (15-11, 6-8) vs St. John’s Red Storm (14-13, 3-11)

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Time: 7:30pm
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

With their NCAA tournament hopes dwindling, the Marquette Golden Eagles came back from down 16 on the road without Markus Howard against Creighton, the #27 KenPom ranked team in the country. The biggest headline of that game was probably Markus Howard going down with a hip contusion, an injury that will likely end up preventing him from playing against St. John’s. The second biggest headline has to be Sacar Anim having the best game of his career with 26 points, two rebounds, and four assists. Anim provided the go ahead buckets multiple times in the final two minutes of the game. With Howard listed as doubtful against St. John’s, Marquette will need Anim to step up big time again. Hopefully his 5-of-8 three-point shooting over the last five games can continue.....

St. John’s Stat Leaders

Points: Shamorie Ponds, 21.6 ppg
Rebounds: Justin Simon, 7.3 rpg
Assists: Justin Simon, 5.0 apg
Steals: Shamorie Ponds, 2.5 spg (leads Big East)

Marquette Stat Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 21.3 ppg
Rebounds: Sam Hauser, 6.0 rpg
Assists: Andrew Rowsey, 4.4 apg
Steals: Andrew Rowsey and Sam Hauser, 1.0 spg

Current Kenpom Ranking

Marquette: #48
St. John’s: #71
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 70% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 81-75.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 4-6, the last win over Creighton was HUGE.

St. John’s Last 10 Games: 4-6, winners of four straight, two of them being against Villanova and Duke, and a third was against the Golden Eagles.

All Time Series: Marquette leads 19-12.

Current Streak: St. John’s has won two of the last three encounters, but Marquette has won four of the last six.

Like I said in my last preview, I’ve been a lifelong fan of the Johnnies and know this team better than myself probably. The Johnnies are rolling now. Winners of their last four, including wins over Duke, Nova and Marquette, their last game against DePaul was a nail biter for sure. The Red Storm had to rally from down four with less than a minute to play down at Wintrust Arena. Shamorie Ponds and Marvin Clark II combined for 60 points against the Blue Demons, which is a fun variation on what Ponds did against MU earlier this season. In the game against Marquette, it was The Shamorie Ponds Show. Ponds dropped 44, turning into while Andrew Rowsey had 34. Sacar Anim, or if we’re being honest, literally anyone at all needs to lock up Ponds this time in order for the Golden Eagles to secure a win.

Marquette is coming off another huge victory. At this point every win is huge, especially with the current state of MU’s at large hopes. The Golden Eagles appear in just five of the 104 projections collected by Bracket Matrix on Tuesday morning. This team keeps proving they are not going to go down quietly. Seeing Markus Howard on crutches around campus on Monday was not surprising. Since it is just a contusion, I’m assuming he’ll be back soon. The crutches makes it seem like he’ll definitely miss Wednesday night, but that could just be an issue of “well, let’s just not make it worse.”

Without Markus Howard, I’m leaning fifty-fifty towards this game. Before the Howard injury, I fully expected Marquette to win this game, but now with their leading scorer out, the Golden Eagles will need multiple players to step it up. I’m assuming Greg Elliott will take Howard’s starting spot come Wednesday. This game will be close, but I think Marquette takes it in the end.

Greg Elliott Watch: The freshman from Detroit has the sixth most blocks by a freshman with 20. Up next is current MU women’s basketball assistant coach Scott Merritt, who had 25 in 2000-01.

Theo John Watch: John recorded five blocks against Providence before sitting out against Seton Hall and St. John’s to give him 19 on the season. That has him in a three-way tie for the seventh most by a Marquette freshmen with Sam Hauser and Charles Luter. He’s one behind the aforementioned Greg Elliott and six behind Scott Merritt.

Sam Hauser Watch: I feel so bad for the sophomore from Stevens Point. After assembling one of the greatest freshman shooting campaigns in Marquette history, he’s doing the same thing as a sophomore and is being completely overshadowed by Markus Howard yet again. Hauser has 72 made threes, which is the fifth most by a MU sophomore. One more ties him with Darius Johnson-Odom and Anthony Pieper for third. His 146 attempts from long range are the 10th most by a soph, passing David Cubillan at 116, but it’ll still be a while before he gets to Darius Johnson-Odom at 154.

Andrew Rowsey Watch: Rowsey now has 84 made three-pointers on the season, which is the third most by a Marquette senior and the 7th most in any MU season. Jerel McNeal’s 86 is up next on the senior list, while McNeal and Markus Howard during this season is next on the all-time chart. Rowsey is up to 209 three-point tries this season, which is the 2nd most for a Marquette senior, with only Jerel McNeal (216) and Steve Novak (259) in front of him. Rowsey’s campaign is just the seventh time a Marquette player has attempted 200 or more three-point shots in a season, and he currently ranks fourth on that chart. After going 2-for-3 against Creighton from the free throw stripe, Rowsey now has the 10th most made free throws by a senior with 133, passing Terry Rand at 132. Jerel McNeal has 135, and Mike Morgan has 136. Rowsey’s accuracy is absurd, as he still needs 35 more attempts from the stripe to get into the senior top 10 in that department.

Markus Howard Watch: It’s official: This is one of the best sophomore scoring seasons in Marquette history. With 6 points against Creighton, Howard is up to 553, and that is the second most by a second year player. The only one in front of Howard now is the one and only Dwyane Wade at 571. Howard’s 86 made three-pointers are the second most by a Marquette sophomore, trailing only Steve Novak’s 89, and is now tied with Jerel McNeal for the 5th most in any season. Howard’s 223 three-point attempts is now the most by a Marquette sophomore, surpassing Novak’s record of 207. 223 long range attempts in a season is also the sixth 200+ attempt season in Marquette history and the 2nd most in any single season by any Marquette player, trailing only Novak’s senior season (259). His 190 made field goals are the fourth most by a Marquette sophomore, trailing George Thompson in third place by 10. Howard’s 411 total shots on the season is just the seventh time a Marquette sophomore has broken past 400 in a season, and he currently sits in 4th place on that list.