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The Quick And The Dirty: #16 Marquette 70, Xavier 52

Well...Jae Crowder was there. That was fun.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the second half, Naji Marshall stole the ball from Markus Howard. It wasn’t a meaningful steal and it didn’t require cunning dexterity, but it was a steal nonetheless that led to a fast break opportunity. Marshall missed a tough layup, but Paul Scruggs was there for the tip in. That one missed the mark as well. But fear not! Here comes Zach Hankins and his nonsensical haircut/headband combo to salvage the possession! Oh wait he missed an easy putback and Ed Morrow snarled the rebound away. While the Xavier’s three Layup Perpetrators contemplated their place in the basketball world, Markus Howard threw an easy alley oop to Jamal Cain.

That play stuck out to me the most today as #16 Marquette beat Xavier, 70-52, but there were many plays like that. Sacar Anim was able to get any shot that he wanted. Xavier made their first three with 6 minutes remaining in the game. The camera showed Grayson Allen wearing a plain Nike hoodie that he’s probably had since he was in high school.

The game was sloppily played overall, and not very fun to watch if we’re being honest. It got to the point where the broadcast interviewed Jae Crowder in the middle of the action to essentially ask him, “Do you like Marquette?” That type of thing happens when 39 fouls are called over a game. Normally when a lot of fouls are being called I’m wont to blame the referees, but today folks were just being a bit handsy. Marquette was still able to control the game, though. Xavier had a couple runs to cut the lead from the upper teens realm to the single digits realm, but no one had any reason to be particularly worried. It’s turning into a down year for the Musketeers and Marquette was able to effectively take care of business. I can’t think of many Big East games in recent years where Marquette won this handily. I like that feeling.

The turnover issues do seem to be subsiding a little bit. Only 13.8% of the team’s possessions today resulted in cough ups, one of which was caused by noted bad referee Michael Stephens tripping Joseph Chartouny. Xavier also made only 40% of their two point attempts, an area where they’d had massive success in up to this point.

In terms of individual performances, only Howard, Anim and Joey Hauser scored more than 2 points. Sacar had one of those games where you just picture what the offense would be capable of if he could put up consistent performances. I’m really rooting for everything to click with him because he’s worked so hard to get to the position that he’s in right now. Here’s to hoping today was that spark.

Markus had one of the quietest 26 point performances that we’ve seen. It was an efficient 26 as well, shooting 10-21 from the floor and 6-15 from deep. He added in 8 assists and 4 boards for good measure.

Sam Hauser and Ed Morrow likely did not have a good breakfast this morning. Or maybe their rooms were a little too cold and they couldn’t fall asleep. Either way, they didn’t have good games, shooting a combined 1-14 from the floor. Ed had 10 rebounds at least. I still can’t really get a grip on his role on the team. It’s fairly dependent on the matchup that day, but there’s still a large amount of variance on what seems to be expected out of him. I’m curious to see the development of that over the next year and a half.

Yeah. That’s about it. Sacar had a cool dunk. Jamal Cain also had a really cool assist that rescued a failed alley oop attempt. Have you guys noticed that no one on the team really dunks? Theo does quite a bit, Sacar will on a breakaway, but that’s about it. I wish they did that more. Dunks are fun.

Marquette took care of business well today, so hopefully their minds are clear for a big test on Wednesday, where they will be facing the 2016-2018 Marquette Golden Eagles.

*holds finger to earpiece*

I’m receiving word that the team is actually called the Creighton Bluejays. So if you were ever curious what it be like to root against a team that launches threes all day, somehow makes all of them, all without playing a lick of defense, you’ll be in luck this week. This will be a big test for the team, as they have been blown out of the gym for both of their true road games this year.