If you ever wanted a test of the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball 2019-20 season theory of #2OtherGuys, you got to see it on Sunday at Fiserv Forum.
Sure, Markus Howard led the Golden Eagles in scoring, but only thanks to a late push to get him to 17 points, while Koby McEwen and Brendan Bailey both tossed in 16, scoring evenly across the full 40 minutes as Marquette knocked off #19 Butler with ease, 76-57. The Golden Eagles are now 17-6 on the season, 7-4 in Big East play and in a three-way tie for second place, and winners of six of their last seven games.
Pretty fun stuff for National Marquette Day 2020, huh?
The first 10 minutes was standard issue Big East basketball stuff: you score, I score, I stop, you stop, etc. A nice quality competitive basketball game as Bryce Nze gave Butler a 19-18 lead with 10:15 to go in the first half. At precisely the 10 minute mark, Markus Howard took advantage of a Brendan Bailey offensive rebound and banged home a triple to swing the lead back to Marquette and kicked off an 11-2 run by the Golden Eagles that spanned four minutes of game time. Well, technically only two and a half, but no one scored for the next 90 seconds either.
That 11-2 burst actually turned into 16-4 if you extrapolate out another three minutes, as Jayce Johnson gave Marquette a 34-23 lead with just a tad under three minutes left in the half. Only a Kamar Baldwin triple remained in the scoring for the first 20 minutes, though not for lack of trying. Marquette got a good crack at a 2-for-1 situation in the final minute but couldn’t get any of their shots to fall, and thus it was 34-26 at the break.
Coming out of the locker room, the game was in stasis at this general point, reverting back to the back-and-forth style you’d expect from high quality college basketball. The turning point, officially, in the game probably came at the 15:45 mark of the second half, when Butler head coach LaVall Jordan was issued a technical foul after Aaron Thompson had fouled Markus Howard in the act of shooting. That was the third foul of the half on the Bulldogs already after the referees blew the whistle just eight times total on both teams in the first half, so I get where Jordan was coming from. However, you can’t take dumb technical fouls against Marquette and you can’t take them when Markus Howard is about to shoot free throws anyway. Four straight freebies fell for the senior from Chandler Arizona, and Marquette was up 10, 42-32. They also kicked off a 9-3 burst by the Golden Eagles that left them up 12 with 12:24 to go.
Butler wasn’t ready to go away, though, and a pair of Kamar Baldwin threes surrounding one from Brendan Bailey had it as a nine point game, 52-43, with 9:05 to go. Bryce Golden scored for the Bulldogs 75 seconds later, and it was an eight point game. Far from over, and the thoughts of Marquette’s collapse at Hinkle Fieldhouse earlier this season wouldn’t have been inappropriate at the moment.
I guess the memory of that must have popped into Koby McEwen’s head as well, because he managed to activate CRUNCH TIME KOBY in response. BOOM, three from the Canadian. BOOM, another three from him. BOOM, this kind of hilarious “oh my god he lost it in the lane because he felt impervious after the last two shots HOLY CRAP HOW DID HE GET IT TO BRENDAN FROM THERE” assist for another three.
This clip that Charlie grabbed doesn’t even get the fumbling in the lane completely all in there, and because of the other players, you can’t really see the pass. I could, as my seats are in the gold shirted section, so they were not obscuring my view, and let me tell you: IT WAS GREAT.
UPDATE: I just saw that the Big East posted a longer clip that includes McEwen’s drive and fumble.
This was three straight offensive possessions for Marquette, and the Golden Eagles were now up 17. The closest Butler got the rest of the game was 13, so those back-to-back-to-back threes were the nails in the coffin for this one.
Not that this stopped LaVall Jordan from thinking differently. Remember last year when he had his team fouling needlessly late at Fiserv Forum and it resulted in Markus Howard tweaking his leg and then he was never right the rest of the season? YES, WELL.
Marquette led 64-51 as the clock approached the four minute mark. Bryce Nze fouled Jayce Johnson after a rebound. Oh well, things happen. Johnson splits a pair. 14 point margin. Johnson blocks Sean McDermott, hauls in the loose ball off the block, Wojo ends up calling timeout 10 seconds into the possession, Butler’s Bryce Golden fouls Johnson 40 feet from the rim off the inbound. That’s an intentional Hack-A-Jayce situation. Down 14. With 3:46 to play. Johnson makes two throws, 67-51.
On the other end, Johnson stuffs Golden, and Kamar Baldwin ends up putting it in the basket. 14 point game, 3:33 to go. Butler sets up a trapping defense in the backcourt..... AND THEN FOULS JOHNSON AGAIN. This is coward crap that Baldwin pulled a year ago that did absolutely nothing for him, and now he’s doing it again. Two years in a row, same building, same opponent.
Luckily, no one was hurt. Also Johnson made both of these free throws, too, so the lead was back to 16, 3:21 to go. The lead went from 13 to 16 across 40 seconds of basketball because Jordan had his team fouling Johnson. Not only was this coward crap, it also failed miserably because Johnson made five of his six throws.
And then Markus Howard came up with a steal and buried a three.
If you think that Koby McEwen shooting — and making — a three with 15 seconds left when Marquette could have just taken a shot clock violation up 16 to end the game wasn’t on purpose from MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski, I have some ocean front property in Wyoming to sell you. Not only did he remember last year, but he watched Jordan pull this stunt in this game which put players at risk of injury just like it did last year, and for what? NOTHING. I hope the league office calls Jordan and tells him to knock this crap off in the future.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: As good and invigorating as this game was, Marquette has a big one in front of them this Wednesday night. They’ll be out in Pennsylvania to take on Villanova. The Wildcats have lost three straight, including home dates against Creighton and Seton Hall, with that last one coming on Saturday afternoon. They’ll be hard pressed to shake out of their slump, while Marquette will be looking to finish off the season sweep of the Wildcats.