In direct and obvious violation of rules and orders handed down across the internet, we’re back again with a look at the box score of a Marquette men’s basketball game while the Golden Eagles are in Europe. This is a look at what transpired in Game #2 of the trip, which was an 88-79 victory over a team listed on the box score as Sant Julia All Stars.
For those of you who read our first breakdown, yes, that team name is familiar, and yes, we’ll get to that in a second.
All thanks go to the MU athletic administration for putting up halftime and full game box scores on Twitter, and thus allowing us to mine said stat sheets for valuable #content in the middle of August. As was the case with Sunday’s game, the following conclusions and thoughts are 100% drawn from the box scores. I watched the few minutes of Periscope streaming broadcast at the start of the game, but that’s it.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
- Your starters on Monday in Spain: Markus Howard, Koby McEwen, Brendan Bailey, Jamal Cain, and Ed Morrow. Howard is the only carry over from Game #1, thus hammering home the point made yesterday about Steve Wojciechowski and his starting lineup fluidity. I strongly doubt that this was any kind of matchup based adjustment given the lack of ability to scout the opponents. I’d wager the change is either because the coaching staff is just throwing lineups out there to see what works or handing out starting assignments based on internal team goals and achievements during the first game.
- Howard was Peak Markus Howard in this game, finishing with game highs in points (28), rebounds (8), assists (7), and steals (2). After a hot start (3-for-7 on threes in the first half), his jumper wasn’t quite as great in the second half (3-for-12 on threes). Even with the struggle in the final 20 minutes that left him with an inefficient three-point shooting percentage of 31.6%, Howard still finished with a personal effective field goal percentage of 53.8%.
- Joining Howard in double digit territory: Sacar Anim (17/4/1 and two steals), Ed Morrow (16/5/1), and Theo John (10 & 3).
- Howard led the team in playing time at a shade over 31 minutes. That’s probably about right for what he’s going to average this season. Anim was second highest at 27:14, even after racking up four fouls, and no one else cleared 25 minutes. Symir Torrence ended up as low man with 9:03 of action. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re a freshman point guard and your team is fighting back from a deficit over the final 30 minutes of a game. Koby McEwen fouled out in less than 25 minutes.
- The box score says that the name of the team was Sant Julia All Stars, which was the same name assigned to the team from Sunday’s game. However, Marquette’s social media differentiated them as two separate teams. That was mostly true, but there were four gentlemen who played against the Golden Eagles on both nights. Is that good or bad for Marquette? I have no idea. On one hand, you’d think that playing against lots of different players without any scouting reports or previous experience is good for the MU guys. On the other hand, going up against four guys who saw you 24 hours earlier is also good, as they have experience with what you’re capable of doing.
- This particular team had just four of their 10 man roster with experience going against Marquette one day earlier, but those guys were pretty significant players the second time around. The repeat foursome accounted for 46% of the scoring on Monday, along with 47% of the rebounding and 50% of the assists.
- Is that why Marquette fell behind 14-9 early and 26-14 at the end of the first quarter? It definitely didn’t hurt!
- The box score gives us point totals at each of the five minute marks of the 40 minute game split into 10 minute quarters. Here’s your point differential from a Marquette perspective as the game went on: -5, -12, -2, +3, +1, +10, +4, +9. I think we have to make this abundantly clear: If you throw out the first 10 minutes where MU fell into a 12 point hole, they outscored SJAS 74-53. Is it bad that they had to run up a 21 point margin in order to win by nine? Well, it’s not bad, but it’s also not great. Long term, it’s probably good for them to have to buckle up and crack down in order to win. There’s probably a conversation to be had about the lost six points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, because this game was definitely still up for grabs with five minutes left to play.
- Fresh off leading Marquette in scoring on Sunday, Jamal Cain followed up........ by taking one shot in 15 minutes and posting a -12 in the +/- column in the box score. That’s MU’s only negative +/- rating, and believe it or not, Cain somehow managed to be negatively efficient. There’s an efficiency column in the box score (I have no idea how that’s calculated), and Cain is sitting at -1. That’s.... not good. I’m not expecting him to lead the team in scoring in 2019-20. That would be crazy talk. But with Marquette having just 11 scholarship players, and Greg Elliott’s fitness levels in doubt after his ankle injury, and the coaching staff having three true newcomers to work in on top of getting Koby McEwen in the rotation for the first time, there’s a lot of questions to be answered. If the Golden Eagles want to have a successful season — and you can define that however you want — they’re going to need consistent performances from everyone. I’m not piling on Cain here, just using him as an example here of how no one on the roster can just disappear from game-to-game like this.
- Since I mentioned it yesterday, I should probably mention it again here. Marquette’s ball control was excellent in this game. They dominated the glass at both ends of the court and posted an absolutely wonderful offensive turnover rate of 14.3% largely thanks to just four turnovers in the second half. The defensive free throw rate was a problem again here, allowing SJAS to get to the line to the tune of a 34.5% FTR. That number was up to 46.4% in the second half as MU was attempting to put them in the rear view mirror. I understand and know that free throw rate has the least amount of impact of the Four Factors when it comes to determining whether a team is going to win or lose. I also know that handing out nearly twice as many free throws in the second half as you did in the first is a bad way to bounce back from an early deficit, both in terms of the opportunity to score with the clock stopped and the number of fouls you’re racking up. Again, maybe this is just an issue of FIBA refs in Spain calling the game differently than NCAA refs in the United States would. This was a major problem for Marquette last season, though, and the Golden Eagles are going to need to not create problems for themselves this coming season.
It appears that Marquette will not play again until August 16th when the team will be in Paris, so we’ve got some time to kill between now and then. Thankfully, the women’s soccer team has their first exhibition game of the year on Wednesday night, so that will give us all something else to focus on for a day or two.