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The Quick & The Dirty: Marquette 93, Grambling State 72

The final 26 minutes was all Golden Eagles up and down the court.

Grambling v Marquette Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

A strong team performance with a multitude of individual good outings allowed YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles to run away and hide from Grambling State on Tuesday night. Your final from Fiserv Forum was 93-72 in MU’s favor, moving the Golden Eagles to 8-2 on the season with two non-conference games left to play.

It was a pretty standard start of a college basketball game between the two sides for the first several minutes. It wasn’t quite back-and-forth, but MU was wandering out to a little bit of a lead, and was up 18-13 thanks to three free throws from Markus Howard at the under-12 media time out. That doesn’t sound like it was going well, but think about it this way: That’s a five point lead in eight minutes. There’s five eight minute segments in a college basketball game, and if all you do is take a five point lead in each one, you win by 25. So, not great, but pretty much exactly what you want to do.

And then things started to go sideways.

Marquette committed five turnovers over the next six minutes, including a travel by Sacar Anim as he started moving too quickly before driving, and a charge by Greg Elliott where he had already divested himself of the ball by way of a pass by the time he made contact. The long and short of it is that Grambling took advantage of the miscues, and a layup by Anthony Gaston with 6:30 left to go in the half knotted things up at 23.

That’s, uh, not what you want against a team that’s nudging around in the 280s and 290s on the ol’ KenPom.com rankings.

The remaining six minutes of the half? That is what you want.

Marquette ripped off the next 12 points of the game, with four different Golden Eagles contributing to the run: Sacar Anim, Markus Howard, Jamal Cain, Jayce Johnson, and then another layup from Cain to go with his earlier triple. 35-23, with 2:44 to go, and then MU tacked on another 7-2 run after Kelton Edwards snapped the 12-0 burst. That’s a 19-4 close to the first 20 minutes, and MU went to the locker room up 15, 42-27.

Brendan Bailey broke the ice on the second half, and Marquette opened that end up with an 11-3 run. That’s a 30-7 run bridging the last 6:30 of the first half and the first 1:52 of the second half. That’ll work out for you more often than not, let me tell you.

Markus Howard blasted off the final nine points of that by himself, canning triples on three straight Marquette possessions. By the time it was over, MU was up 23. Grambling managed to whittle it back down to 18 in relatively short order, but it would soon blow up to 27, and with 10:17 to go, an and-1 layup from Koby McEwen pushed the Golden Eagles to their highwater mark of the game at a 29 point lead, 75-46.

That’s a 52-23 run for Marquette, if you want to think about it that way.

Grambling kept playing, though, and as things wound their way to the conclusion, the lead briefly dipped back under 20. Not by much, only to 19, and never further. One final emphatic dunk from Theo John with seconds left to go put the punctuation on it, and gave MU a 21 point win.

Markus Howard was Markus Howard on this night, getting 26 points on 6-for-13 shooting, with a 6-for-10 mark from long distance. He also added six rebounds and four assists and just two early turnovers. Anim had 18 & 4, McEwen had what is hopefully a breakthrough performance with 10 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, and Cain hopped off the bench for 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The Michigan native is rapidly becoming indispensable on the floor for the Golden Eagles, and it’s nice to see him flourish after a low output sophomore season.

Can I interest you in 67 seconds of highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?

Up Next: Marquette has something of a quick turnaround in order to fit in one last home game before Christmas. They’ll be back in action on Friday night when North Dakota State comes to town. The Bison are 8-4 this season after beating Montana State at home on Monday night.