Sometimes the worries we have when our minds aren’t fully clear can cloud us from the most likely scenario. In tonight’s case, the announcement that Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven would be out with injury provided Milwaukee’s Finest with a sense of dread that a loss would be even more frustrating than usual. Visions of last year’s late season collapsed filled our consciousness about everything that could possibly go wrong.
But ultimately, a talented team playing what was already a fringe bubble team without by far their two best players went about as expected. The game was mostly over from the tip as Marquette made 4 of their first 7 shots from the field, including two from deep. They never looked back from there.
It seemed like head coach Steve Wojciechowski saw the confidence in his players early on and used that to his advantage. As fans have began to rumble about whether or not he sticks with his starting 5 a little too much, he saw the early blowout opportunity to try out different sets. For extended periods of time, different combinations of Markus Howard, Sacar Anim, and Koby McEwen sat out in order to give Jamal Cain, Greg Elliott and Symir Torrence extended minutes. They did not disappoint. The Gazelles were tenacious on defense, forcing turnovers and causing general disruption on every drive. They were getting every 50/50 ball that they saw and played with the kind of heart that fans love to see from guys on the bench.
Offensively the team played spectacularly. Georgetown’s defense was disjointed with the apple crisp passes that the guards were making. Cain and Theo John each were on the receiving end of an alley oop, Sacar Anim had a breakway dunk because of perfect vision from Howard, and the centers passed effectively out of tough post positions. Once the ball got on the perimeter the passing would put a smile on James Naismith’s face. Every player made the perfect pass for the wide open three, and it led to easy conversions. Jamal Cain was on the receiving end of most of these passes and he had a hell of a half on both ends.
The Hoyas kinda sorta thought about making it interesting by going on a 14-5 run to close the half and cut the lead to 11, but the momentum did not carry into the second half. Marquette got a couple early buckets and quick stops to tamper down expectations. From there it was never really close. I’m really banking on this actually being true because we’re in the middle of the under-16 timeout of the second half and I don’t intend on doing much more editing.
Edit: Georgetown cut it to 10 but then Markus turned into MARKUS and the lead bounced back to 24. All is well.
Game MVP goes to the true unsung hero of the evening. I am of course referring to Red Panda. I could watch her fling bowls on her head for the rest of my life and wonder why heaven is a step down from life on Earth.
Up next is the game Marquette fans had circled on their calendar since mid-September, perhaps even last March. It’s Senior Day for the best scorer in the nation currently and possibly Marquette’s history. It’s a battle between the two best players in the Big East who carry their respective teams in the scoring department. It’s the outpouring of the boiled blood that began in last year’s Big East Tournament semifinal. Seton Hall comes into town and there should be no worries from the team about trying to stop the bleeding from a rough stretch. This was the perfect game to send the team into this matchup.