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The Quick & The Dirty: Marquette 85, St. John’s 73

Ding dong the witch is dead

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Marquette
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jesus Christ, I’m so glad that’s over. Marquette put an end to the four game miracle run by St. John’s, defeating the Red Storm 85-73 in Milwaukee on Wednesday, thus extending the Golden Eagles’ own NCAA tournament hopes.

I’m more than happy to let St. John’s die in the same obscurity as the Winter Olympics. Shamorie Ponds finally stopped playing like the regrettable lovechild of Jesus and Godzilla for a game and the rest of their players remembered that they’re basically glorified handball players. Except for Bryan “Sherron Collins” Trimble. I know for a fact he’s going to hit a fade away buzzer beater three to kill Marquette’s Big East Championship hopes next year, and let me tell you what, I am not looking forward to it, not one bit.

Marquette pretty much played a perfect game, which really hasn’t happened in a while. Based on what I saw, Markus Howard should never be allowed to touch a basketball again and also I should eat half a bag of Tostitos every time I watch a game.

It was pretty much a perfect storm for Marquette to spit up on themselves offensively tonight. Their star player and main catalyst was out for the game, leaving an offense led by a guy who can turn into the basketball version of Fredo Corleone at times to face off against the only decent* defense in the Big East.

*I know that’s not true. Shut up.

This game gave an interesting glimpse at what the future could hold for the Golden Eagles. They were incredibly balanced on offense, getting double figures from 5 different players. Sam Hauser showed pretty much all of his tools in this game. Aside from threes and that weird twisty jumper he does, he also posted up a couple times, and even drove the ball????? It was the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen, but he made the bucket. I don’t think Jamal Cain is ever going to miss a shot. He and Lorenzo Cain need to meet. I need to see a double #CainTrain happen.

Things were weird in the frontcourt. Matt Heldt, most famously known for his double-double at home against St. John’s last year, put up an 0fer from the field today, scoring just two points on two free throws, leaving himself in danger of no longer being #TheMostEfficientPlayerInCollegeBasketball. (UPDATE: He still is, don’t worry) Harry Froling didn’t play. This was the reason.

I’ve never heard of Coach’s Decision before, but we at Anonymous Eagle wish him a speedy recovery.

In his absence, Theo John went 3-of-4 from the floor and even made a free throw! *throws confetti* He’s really come a long way since deciding that setting the single season record for illegal screens just wasn’t worth it anymore. Also, is the tattoo on his forearm new? I hadn’t noticed it yet. I’m usually focused on whether or not he consumes an opponent that day.

Alright I’m getting bored. Let’s talk defensive game plans. Steve Wojciechowski, a coach who is unwilling to make any sort of meaningful change to better his team unless he absolutely has to do so, made a meaningful change to better his team in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen before. When a team switches from a man defense to a zone defense, it’s usually done as a desperate move by a coach to pump some semblance of life into the defense. Or you’re Jim Boeheim and choose to base your career on a cheap cowardly defense and still somehow lack the time to coach a decent offense. Tonight, however, Wojo tried something different. He switched the defenses almost at random. There was no way for St. John’s to find any sort of rhythm offensively. Most importantly, both defenses were taught effectively. In total, the Red Storm was 15-of-33 from inside the arc, so it’s not like the offense simply outperformed the opponent’s. Paint Touches is going to have the Synergy numbers in like 3 seconds probably, but it certainly didn’t feel like there wasn’t a major drop-off from one defense to the next. Shamorie Ponds was thrown off his game — just 5-of-18 from the field, buoyed by 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc — and no one else could pick up the slack.

Eventually the game turned into that part in Backyard Basketball where you pick up the doughnut power-up and go to the farthest part of the court just to dunk from there. It was fun to watch. They played loose. They go to Of Paul University next, so if they can figure out which of the 18 campuses to go to for the game, they should be riding high going into the final two games of the season. Fingers crossed!