Let’s have some fun, shall we?
Sports are supposed to be fun. Ever since the calendar turned to March, things have been Not Fun for Marquette basketball fans, so we’re going to change that up right here and now. Plus, it’s the offseason, and we’ve got to get to August somehow, right?
THE MARKUS HOWARD 30 POINT GAME TOURNAMENT
It’s a very simple concept. Marquette guard Markus Howard is a fireball of a scoring machine. He’s had seventeen 30+ point games in his three season collegiate career, which is nearly the exact perfect number of games to have a fun bracket tournament to decide which of his 30+ point games was actually the best one.
We’ve sorted and seeded his 30+ point games in order by point total. The 53 point game against Creighton this past season? #1 seed. His 30 point game against St. John’s in the Big East tournament this past season? #17 seed. We made some tiebreakers along the way to decide between a few of the seeds. For example: Howard has had three 33 point games. The first tiebreaker was whether Marquette won or lost the game, with a win getting a better seed. Next was turnovers, with the game with the fewer turnovers getting the better seed. After all, we’re trying to figure out which scoring game was his best one, and turning the ball over is not helpful to scoring a lot of points. In one case, we had to go to another tiebreaker, and we went with assists there. Yes, it’s not a scoring thing, per se, but it helps define what was a better game for Howard overall more than anything else we could have possibly used.
The #5 seed avoided the upset from the #12 seed last week. It wasn’t particularly close, but it was closer than some of the matchups that we’ve had in this shindig. What will happen this time around as the point totals continue to inch closer together?
Ready? Let’s see the matchup!
#6 Seed: 37 points vs Bethune-Cookman on November 10, 2018
Result: Marquette won, 92-59
Full Markus Howard Statline: 28 minutes, 37 points on 10-for-16 shooting (3-for-6 on twos, 7-for-10 on threes), 10-for-11 on free throws, eight rebounds, five assists, two turnovers
Howard went nuts late in the first half against the Wildcats, raining in 26 points in the first half on 6-for-10 shooting after putting in just two points in the first nine minutes of the game. He had 10 straight for the Golden Eagles, as they tilted the game from 12-11 to 22-14 and wrapped up the first 20 minutes with a 51-27 lead. Howard played just nine minutes in the second half, exiting with MU up 76-50 with 7:56 to go.
In a way, we’re left to wonder if this game would have ended up seeded better than #6 if Steve Wojciechowski had left Howard in the game longer. It was completely unnecessary though, and the lead actually grew a wee bit more after Howard was seated for good.
Howard’s eight rebounds in the game led the team, beating Joey Hauser by one. The younger Hauser had the advantage in the assists department though, as he outpaced Howard by one in that column for the team lead.
#11 Seed: 33 points vs Chicago State on November 29, 2017
Result: Marquette won, 95-69
Full Markus Howard Statline: 32 minutes, 33 points on 11-for-16 shooting (0-for-1 on twos, 11-for-15 on threes), no free throws attempted, four rebounds, two turnovers
Howard’s 11 made three-pointers in this game were a new program record at the time, and that record still stands today. Yes, even as Howard broke the MU single game scoring record four times after this game, he only matched the 11 made threes once. That was in the 52 point performance against Providence, where he went 11-for-19.
The damage was fairly even in this game, as Howard put in 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the first half (that’s where the two-pointer attempt happened) and then 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting in the second half. You can make the argument that the first half was more important than the second half, as Marquette only led 48-40 at the break. With that said, Andrew Rowsey did a whole bunch of scoring in the first half, where as Howard was carrying the load after intermission when MU outscored the Cougars 47-29.
Perhaps the best sequence of the game for Howard came in the second half where he shot 3-for-5 on threes in a 90 second span. It was a personal and team 9-0 run that drove the lead from 19 to 28 with 6:28 left to go and officially put the game away.
Which performance by Markus Howard was better? Cast your vote! Polling will stay open until Friday at midnight CT, so tell your friends to vote, too!