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The Quick & The Dirty: Marquette 73, Kansas State 65

It got scrappy after halftime, but the Golden Eagles are the kings of Manhattan.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Marquette
Jamal Cain was super for Marquette in Manhattan.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Powered by a 17 point, nine rebound, two assists performance from Jamal Cain (no, really, he was great), YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles left Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday night with a 73-65 win over Kansas State. It was the final Major Seven test on the non-conference schedule for the Golden Eagles, and while they didn’t pass it with flying colors, they definitely deserved to win it.

It looked like Marquette was getting ready to run away with this game after the first 20 minutes. They led 39-26 at the half and other than a turnover problem spurred by four giveaways from Markus Howard, the Golden Eagles were giving the Wildcats the business. After a visit to the locker room, things were drastically different. Kansas State opened up the second half on an 11-2 tear to pull within five points. This, just two days after MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski very carefully and deliberately called his team “lifeless” in the second half against Jacksonville.

That start prompted a timeout for Marquette, but that didn’t slow down the Wildcat offensive. A layup from DaJuan Gordon with 13:57 made it a three point game, 45-42, and a minute later, Levi Stockard pulled the Wildcats within one.

Right about here is where perhaps the worst play of the game happened, as a flipping fight nearly broke out because of a tieup involving Ed Morrow and two K-State players. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, but tempers were flaring all over the place, mostly because it took FOREVER to actually blow the whistle for the tie-up. This was not the only poorly officiated tie-up/jump ball in the game, and that absolutely lent itself to the game getting overly physical as it continued to progress.

Anyway, where we we? Oh, right, K-State had wiped out Marquette’s majestic 13 point halftime lead, or had nearly done so. You’ll be pleased to know that it was Jamal Cain that pushed back to put Marquette back up by three, and after a VERY ANGRY timeout from Wojciechowski, Howard bombed in a triple to make it a six point game with 10:55 to go.

The Wildcats didn’t go away, of course. Two freebies from Xavier Sneed pulled the margin back to just three points with 9:24 to go, and things were definitely on.

Or at least it seemed that way.

Marquette scored the next seven points, including an amazing putback jam by Cain and a three ring circus drive and shot from Howard that included a trip to the stripe for an old fashioned three-point play, and the lead was 10, 59-49, with 7:03 to go. Marquette would eventually push the lead to 12, but Kansas State didn’t let them get any further than that. MU made enough plays down the stretch, including a big three by Koby McEwen with just over two minutes left to nail down the win.

Cain clearly had the best game of the night for Marquette, although it was Howard scoring 19 points in 28 foul laden minutes on 16 shots that led the way for the Golden Eagles. Five different Golden Eagles had at least four rebounds, including a team high nine for Cain, eight for Theo John, and six for Sacar Anim, who also added 13 points and two assists. Thanks to foul trouble for a lot of guys, Symir Torrence put in 16 quality minutes, added two rebounds and four assists without a single turnover.

Up Next: Well, first it’s Finals Week for the guys. Wojciechowski doesn’t believe in playing games until long after finals are finished, so MU won’t play again until they host Grambling State on Tuesday, December 17th. The Tigers are 1-4 against Division 1 competition this season and are rapidly descending into the sub-300 department on KenPom.com.