Is this the new normal? I sure hope so.
The Markus Golden Eagles dominated the USC Trojans on Friday afternoon with 101-79 rout in the semifinals of the Orlando Invitational. Markus Howard broke lots of records on his way to 51 points while shooting 14 of 24 from the field. He put on a clinic from behind the arc, making 9 of 17 from his comfort zone. It was honestly target practice for the reigning Big East Player of the Year. He chipped in 14 of 17 from the free throw line for good measure. Just to give you an idea of just how on fire Markus was: He had an offensive rating of 147 according to KenPom. To give you an idea of how good that is, Tyler Hagedorn of South Dakota leads division 1 averaging a 128.9 offensive rating on the year. He not only shot the lights out of the HP Field House but inspired his teammates pitch in on the action.
Keep in mind that Markus scored more points than the rest of his team. But Greg Elliott had a nice 11/4/3 stat line and had a beautiful 4-point play in the first half. Sacar Anim and Koby McEwen had 7 points a piece while pulling down four rebounds. Even Jayce Johnson got in on the action chipping in 6 points and 7 rebounds. Now that that’s out of the way (I had to be respectful to the rest of the team), let’s get back to Markus Howard’s day.
Specifically, the records he broke. Markus extended his Marquette career scoring record to 2,131 points. He now has scored 50 points in a game in three consecutive seasons and becomes just the third major-conference player to ever do that. After breaking the MU legend Matt Carlino’s Orlando Invitational record yesterday with 40, he broke his own record today with 51. Not only that but he also now holds the tournament record for points as well with 91 points. That’s the three game Orlando Invitational record, and he set it in two games. Ninety-one. In two games. Feast on that this Thanksgiving weekend. My Lord. And they still have a game left Sunday against Maryland, in which Howard will assuredly reset that tournament scoring record at some astronomical record that will never be even gazed upon by another player.
More fun Markus Howard record breakers? He’s the first player in Big East history with back to back 40-point games with the added bonus that he managed to do it on back-to-back days as well. If you have any more records that he broke to add in, please help me out in the comments section.
Just to give you an idea of just how ridiculous Markus’ last two games have been...he is now the best player in college basketball according to KenPom’s Player of the Year internal rankings. Love to see that. Anyways, you get the idea. Markus Howard is (insert crazy superlative here).
If you’re asking: what happened in the actual game aside from Markus Howard? Not much. There were a lot of fouls called which slowed down the game at times. Some would argue the refs were a little too whistle happy. Theo, Ed, Jayce, Brendan Bailey and Jamal Cain were all in foul trouble. However, Steve Wojciechowski still found a way to finally play his 2-big lineup he referenced preseason. Albeit it only lasted a couple minutes before Ed Morrow and Theo John picked up ticky-tacky fouls.
Otherwise, the offense was at its best when it ran through Markus. Between the under 16 and under 8 media timeouts in the first half Markus scored 18 of Marquette’s 29 points. 18 points in eight minutes. We’re left to wonder how many points he could have scored if Wojciechowski hadn’t subbed him out with five minutes left in the game because Marquette was up 30 and who are we trying to kid here.
This is a tribute to the best shooter in the country. Run the offense through Markus Howard every game from here on out. Don’t think twice about it. What a special player we have the blessing of watching every week.
Next up: Marquette will play #5 Maryland in the finals of the Orlando Invitational. Maryland beat Temple and Harvard to make the finals. They are 7-0 this season. That game will be on Sunday, with tipoff set for noon Central.