Whacky new gray uniforms that no one asked for? Check!
No Markus Howard thanks to concussion protocol and evaluation? Check!
That’s the story of how things went at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday night, as Marquette moved to 6-2 on the year thanks to a 75-56 victory over Jacksonville. The only people who are disappointed with how this went are gamblers who were locked in on the Golden Eagles at -21 before Howard’s concussion was announced and apparently head coach Steve Wojciechowski who called the second half “atrocious” in his post game radio hit with Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith.
I mean, sure? I guess?
Yeah, Marquette went into halftime up 23 and ended up winning by 19. That’s not “great,” but I’m also not going to lose any sleep over it. Marquette also never led by fewer than 17 in the second half, so it’s not like this thing was really in doubt all that much. The worst thing that I could say about it is that it happened. With MU hovering between 17 and 23 points for the entire final 20 minutes, I can’t say that the game was particularly interesting or fun to watch. MU got on the freeway, got up to 65 miles per hour, locked in the cruise control, and let that carry them the rest of the way for the win.
Cool, whatever, fine by me.
I will say that if Wojciechowski’s complaint is largely about how the Golden Eagles put themselves in foul trouble in the second half, I can’t argue with him. Symir Torrence picked up his fourth foul with just a bit less than 16 minutes to go, and Koby McEwen got there less than a minute later and he would eventually foul out with under six minutes left to go. With Markus Howard in street clothes on the bench (possibly a good sign for his concussion), having two of your primary options to replace him as a ballhandler trapped up with fouls for most of the second half is not good, to say the least.
Still, even with Sacar Anim and Greg Elliott having to hold down the point guard fort for long stretches of the second half, it didn’t seem to affect MU’s ability to maintain their margin on the Dolphins. Then again, Marquette did commit eight turnovers in the second half after just five in the first 20 minutes. The game long number on their turnover rate might be fine, but the final 20 minutes were not good and the giveaways presumably had a big part in the Dolphins outscoring MU 33-29 in that timeframe.
I don’t know if there’s much else to say about this one. Sacar Anim led all scorers with 19 points, while Theo John added 11 and seven rebounds in his 17 minutes of action. Jamal Cain was a force of nature, grabbing up a career high 12 rebounds and just missing a double-double with eight points.
Up Next: On Saturday night, Marquette will find themselves visiting The Little Apple for a road trip against Kansas State. As of the postgame press conference, Wojciechowski is unsure whether or not Markus Howard will be available for that one. The Wildcats are 5-2 this season with neutral site losses in their Feast Week even to Pittsburgh and Bradley, but they followed that up with a win over Florida A&M. It will be MU’s last crack at a Major Seven opponent until Big East play starts on New Year’s Day.