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The Quick & The Dirty: Marquette 82, North Dakota State 68

Markus Howard breaks a scoring record and the Golden Eagles move to 9-2.

North Dakota State v Marquette Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

As WWE announcer Michael Cole might say, “VINTAGE MARKUS HOWARD!”

The Marquette senior guard posted 32 points on Friday night at Fiserv Forum to lead the Golden Eagles to an 82-68 victory over North Dakota State. With the win, MU is now 9-2 on the season with one non-conference game left to go.

While it looks like the Golden Eagles cruised easily to victory from a glance at the final score, that really couldn’t be further from the truth. Marquette had a 10 point lead for a total of 27 seconds in the first half, lasting from when Sacar Anim hit a triple with 6:51 to go to when Cameron Hunter buried a long ball of his own on NDSU’s ensuing possession. That three-pointer from Hunter was the start of a long push by the Bison to eventually tie the game at 36 apiece with 1:21 to go before intermission, and only a bucket by Anim 30 seconds later left Marquette out in front at the break.

North Dakota State’s Vinnie Shahid scored first after halftime, giving the Bison their lead since it was 8-7 in the early going. MU got the next seven in a row to take a six point lead, but it was made very clear very quickly that the Bison weren’t going anywhere any time soon. That six point lead with 17:12 to go thanks to a three from Anim would be the biggest lead of the second half for Marquette up until Jayce Johnson put MU up seven with 11:56 to go, and even then, the game was quickly back down into one possession territory.

The deciding minutes of the game came starting with just over eight minutes to go when Markus Howard scored on a layup to put Marquette up 65-60. At that point, it had been 17 seconds since NDSU had scored. That would eventually turn into over four straight minutes as Marquette went on a very simple but very long 9-0 run. Two free throws from Koby McEwen made it 72-60 with just 4:16 to go, and after a three from NDSU’s Tyson Ward on the other end, MU kicked off another 6-0 run to put the game out of reach.

At some point along the way to 32 points on the night, Howard tallied enough to make himself and big brother Jordan Howard the highest scoring pair of brothers in NCAA history. Seth Curry and Steph Curry combined to score 4,736 points in their collegiate careers, and now the Howard brothers have gone past them.

We were actually denied a bigger moment in terms of basketball history on Friday night, as Howard made five three-pointers in the game. That was good enough to tie Steve Novak’s Marquette career record for made three-pointers, and he had a lot of time to get the record breaker. Alas, it did not come, so we will have to wait until next time around to see the record fall at long last.

While Howard was pretty great as per usual, there were a lot of MU guys who made big performances here. Sacar Anim finished with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Koby McEwen shook off a 2-for-7 shooting night which included an oh-fer from behind the arc to get 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Theo John wrapped up the night with five points, six rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and a steal, all in just 23 minutes.

Up Next: Marquette will be off for more than a week so the team can head to their various homes for Christmas. They’ll be back in action on Saturday, December 28th, when Central Arkansas comes to Milwaukee to round out the non-conference schedule. The Bears are 1-9 against Division 1 foes this season after beating Incarnate Word in overtime on Wednesday. They’ll host Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday before they start their Christmas break.