Well, if you were hoping that Marquette men’s basketball was going to come out of the locker room firing on all cylinders fresh off a win over a top five team and holding onto some newly earned Associated Press top 25 votes, you found yourself spending most of Tuesday night disappointed in the squad.
At the end of 40 minutes, Green Bay just didn’t have an answer for Koby McEwen, who tossed together a Marquette career high 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting to go with three rebounds and four assists as the Golden Eagles beat the Phoenix, 82-68. Marquette is now 4-1 on the season with one last non-conference tilt left to go before Big East play starts.
This game did not resemble Green Bay’s first two encounters with Major Seven competition this season in the slightest. The Phoenix knocked down six of their first 16 three-point attempts of the night in the first half to stay within double digits of Marquette except for the brief moment when a Dawson Garcia three-pointer made it 40-30 with 31 seconds left before intermission. Josh Jefferson answered with one of his own on the other end and the Golden Eagles led 40-33 at the break.
We make jokes about MU’s ongoing issue to come out of the locker room on fire, but the Golden Eagles started the second half off with a 7-1 run to go up 47-34 after an and-1 from McEwen with 16:51 to go. Back-to-back scoring possessions for Marquette a little bit later made it 52-38 with 14:59 to go, and thus a 14 point margin was established. Seems like a solid buffer thanks to a three from Jamal Cain, right?
Green Bay fired off the next 10 points of the game, with half of those coming from P.J. Pipes. All of a sudden, it’s a four point game with just under 13 minutes left. Far from over, eh?
Then it was McEwen Takeover Time.
The redshirt senior from Canada scored the next 10 points for Marquette, leading to the Golden Eagles pushing the margin back to 10, 62-52, with 10:06 to go. Shortly thereafter, McEwen capped off.... well, 14-6 isn’t really a run, but it is more than doubling up your opponent, so that’s a pretty good stretch. That ended with a three from McEwen, and thus the score was 76-61. Nothing left to worry about now, and the Golden Eagles coasted it in for the easy landing.
Josh Jefferson and P.J. Pipes started out white hot from behind the arc for the visitors, but by the end of the night, they would combine to shoot just 7-for-21 from behind the arc. Sure, 33% is acceptable, but it’s not the kind of shooting that you need when you’re trying to go on the road and knock out a high major foe, especially when that means the pairing was just 1-for-9 in the second half.
McEwen’s big day wasn’t the only good performance for the Golden Eagles, who were highly efficient on the offensive end all night long. Dawson Garcia scored on seven of his 13 field goal attempts to finish with 18 points to go with seven rebounds. Theo John had his usual man-sized outing, scoring eight points, grabbing a game high 12 rebounds, dishing two assists, and swatting three shots. D.J. Carton (9/2/3) and Jamal Cain (8&5) kept it simple, but made plays when their number was called.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FS1?
Up Next: It’s time for the first road trip of the year! Marquette’s first five games of the year have all been at Fiserv Forum, but the next time we see them, they’ll be out in California. UCLA awaits on Friday night in Pauley Pavilion, providing that the governor or the mayor don’t institute some sort of shutdown order between now and then. The Bruins are 3-1 on the season after falling on the road to San Diego State in their opener. Well, they’re 3-1 now, as they’ll host San Diego in the Toreros’ season opener on Wednesday night before the Golden Eagles come to town.