At the end of the year, all we’ll really remember about Friday night’s Marquette’s game against Eastern Illinois Panthers is that the Golden Eagles won by 25, 75-50, and it wasn’t particularly close.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s totally fine to just slowly suffocate the life out of your opponent and quietly build a 20 point margin as the game goes along. Sure, it doesn’t lead to any particularly memorable moments that will last in everyone’s mind, but sometimes it’s okay to just get your easy win and go home.
After another awful start to the game where Marquette turned it over on their first two possessions for the second straight game, the Golden Eagles did something that you were used to seeing last year: scoring by way of the three-pointer. Dawson Garcia broke the ice for Marquette with a triple, which was followed by — and I swear to you that this is not a joke — A THREE-POINTER FROM THEO JOHN, THE FIRST OF HIS CAREER ON HIS FIRST ATTEMPT, and then another triple from Garcia. MU got their first 10 point lead of the game at the 11:03 mark of the first half as Koby McEwen dropped in a pair of freebies to make it 17-7.
Marquette would build their lead to 15 at a couple of points, but the Panthers dragged it back into single digits late in the half. A three by D.J. Carton followed by a layup on the next possession by Symir Torrence left the Golden Eagles up 12 at the break. MU scored the first five points out of intermission to go up 17, and that essentially gave them the cushion that they would need the rest of the way.
EIU cut it to 10 with 12:26 to go, which yeah, not super great, but that’s why you build a 17 point lead to start with. After that, you get to bounce back with enthusiasm. MU ripped off the next 10 of the next 11 points in the game to make it a 61-42 game with 6:46 to go, and that was pretty much that from there.
For the second straight game, freshman forward Dawson Garcia led Marquette in scoring, getting 16 points along with eight rebounds. Garcia went 5-for-10 from the field, but connected on three of his four long range attempts, including those two early triples which set the tone. The Golden Eagles ultimately finished shooting 47% from behind the arc in the game. Koby McEwen added 14 points and five rebounds, while Theo John just barely missed a second straight double-double with nine points and nine rebounds to go with an assist and two blocks. A quiet and underrated performance came from Symir Torrence, who had six points, three rebounds, and six assists on the night.
Part of the whole deal that led to the win was shutting down Eastern Illinois. While Marquette’s great shooting helped, obviously, holding the Panthers to an effective field goal percentage of just 32% was also very big. MU also limited the visitors to just 29% shooting from behind the arc, and the one thing you can not do when you’re making sure you avoid an upset is to make sure the three-balls aren’t falling against you.
Up Next: Oklahoma State and projected #1 NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham come to Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The Cowboys are 1-0 as of right now after beating UT-Arlington on the road, and they’ll host Texas Southern on Saturday before heading back out on the road.