After a back and forth first half, Shamorie Ponds closed the first 20 minutes with a personal 9-2 run that left #16 Marquette trailing St. John’s 39-31 at the break.
Apparently, that Ponds miniature explosion was merely a prelude for the final 20 minutes.
St. John’s outscored Marquette 50-38 after intermission to run away with this one, 89-69. MU drops to 0-1 in Big East play and has their eight game winning streak snapped. According to the Red Storm press office, this is their largest margin of victory against a ranked team since 1998.
Seems not great.
Where do you want to start with the dissection here?
Let’s start with the fact that Marquette never quite looked together on defense in the second half. Things were mostly okay before halftime, with MU allowing just 1.03 points per possession, even while the Red Storm were hitting a bunch of shots. It felt like the Golden Eagles spent a lot of time chasing around on defense as opposed to making smart switches and avoiding leaving a man open. All of this led to SJU knocking down 46% of their three-point attempts in the game, and that ended up being a big ticket item in their favor.
That directly leads us to Marquette’s other big problem in the game: their inability to hit the broad side of a barn. MU went just 6-for-21 (29%) from downtown in this one and just 3-for-11 (27%) after halftime. The primary problem was Marquette’s primary options. Markus Howard was a very not good 2-for-15 in the game and 2-for-8 from long range, while Sam Hauser was a merely passable 3-for-8 and 2-for-5 from distance.
It was clear that the game plan was to try to take advantage of St. John’s lack of size on the roster, as none of their starters were over 6’7”. However, that plan never quite came to fruition, as Joey Hauser and Theo John found themselves in foul trouble fairly quickly. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski has talked repeatedly this season about how MU is a paint team, not a shooting team as they have been the last two years. I feel like the plan could have and should have worked, but when Shamorie Ponds (26 points on 8-for-15 shooting) and Marvin Clark II (22 points on 7-for-10 shooting) are running around shouting “HEY WATCH ME HIT THIS SHOT, TOO,” the whole thing kind of comes apart around you quickly.
Joey Hauser had a nice game, finishing with a team high 15 points, but 11 of those came in the first half as he was a lot of the reason why MU was in this thing at the break.
If you want to find some kind of silver lining, Marquette committed just 12 turnovers in the game, so at least that wasn’t a problem like it has been up to this point in 2018-19?
Up Next: Marquette is off until Sunday, when they’ll host Xavier in an effort to try and retain some sense of credibility as a ranked team before the new AP poll comes out on Monday. That game has officially been given a start time of 11am Central with the broadcast coming on Fox. The Musketeers will host Seton Hall on Wednesday night before making their way to Milwaukee.