Let’s focus on the good news, shall we?
Koby McEwen scored on a herky jerky floating layup with 27 seconds left and Marquette men’s basketball got two stops in the closing seconds, one just a missed shot by Julian Champagnie at the horn, in order to get a 73-71 victory over St. John’s on Saturday afternoon. MU is now 8-6 on the year and 4-4 in Big East play after starting out league action 1-3.
Marquette got a diverse scoring group at Carnesecca Arena, led by 14 points from D.J. Carton. Justin Lewis and Greg Elliott both came off the bench to chip in 13, and Dawson Garcia added 11. Everybody who played more than 20 minutes in the game scored at least six points.
Here’s the bad news.
Marquette was up 41-30 at halftime, and back-to-back dunks by Carton put the visiting team up 10 with 15:01 to go. This game should not have come down to McEwen holding the ball then driving to the rim, then Theo John blocking a Vince Cole layup attempt, then Champagnie missing a last second corner jumper off the inbound following the blocked shot. The Golden Eagles did a good job shutting down Champaignie, the Big East’s leading scorer coming in, during the first half as he shot just 1-for-7 from the field and missed all four of his three-point attempts. Champagnie was electrifying in the second half, shooting 6-for-13 including 5-for-7 from downtown. At one point — directly after those Carton dunks, by the way — Champagnie scored 12 straight points in the game. Not 12 straight for St. John’s, a personal 12-0 run for the Brooklyn native that flipped things from 51-41 Marquette to 53-51 favoring the Red Storm, and he did it in less than two minutes. Two Marquette turnovers in the midst of Champagnie’s run definitely did not help things.
Turnovers didn’t help all game long. Knowing that they were going against a Red Storm defense that loves to create turnovers, Marquette coughed it up eight times in the opening 20 minutes and 11 more times in the second half. Turnovers plagued Marquette all the way to the end, as Koby McEwen gave one away while the game was tied with 2:38 to go and Theo John had a turnover while it was tied at 71 with 1:12 to go. Quite honestly, the Golden Eagles were lucky to win the game given those very late mistakes. According to KenPom.com, that means that nearly 27% of MU’s possessions ended up with the ball in St. John’s hands without a shot going up. That’s absolutely garbage, and the fact that Marquette still scored 1.03 points per possession while wasting more than a quarter of their possessions is insane.
Okay, time for some honesty: These are just facts about the game arranged in a narrative function. I didn’t watch this game thanks to the late change in start time, and I only got a chance to listen to chunks of it on the radio. So I’m going to turn this over to the AE Twitter mentions, because I asked the readers to tell me what they saw.
We got lucky. Turnovers were killing us and we had some big defensive lapses for long stretches.— TB (@TBerculosis) January 16, 2021
Go up big, lose that big lead, and squeeze it out somehow.— Ryan Pogo (@rpogo4) January 16, 2021
Someone might want to address the turnover issue— Ben (@bensnider94) January 16, 2021
Good... Dawson fully comprehends he gets rewarded making the fundamental plays. Elliott's 3s, Carton's dunks, and Lewis/Theo battling.— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) January 16, 2021
Bad... turnovers and uncontested 3s. It's sometimes really that simple in terms of cleaning things up. #mubb
MU did well offensively when the slowed down on offense and made deliberate attempts to put the ball inside. Wojo is not good at OB plays and teaching how to handle pressure.— Chris Vandenberg (@vandenberg_cj) January 16, 2021
The obvious bad - Out of Bounds plays were horrible. Good - the team showed toughness and didn't back down from the physical play or loose their cool too much.— Alan Johnson (@AJohnson104) January 16, 2021
The good:— Brutus (@brutus_87to98) January 16, 2021
- 4 in double figures.
- 5 with at least 5 boards, +6 on boards
- 14 'stocks', 7 a piece
- 58.3 EFG in 1H
- 87.5% from FT
- Bench +10 scoring
- Great intensity at times matching #sjubb
- Ref show
- 11 TO's in second half
- Poor closeouts on 3's
Trouble with the press.— Raymond Felton Spencer Haywood Jefferies (@GrammHammer) January 16, 2021
The bad: Turnovers (again)— Tom Hoch (@Donnybrook77) January 16, 2021
The good: Marquette won
I’d rather win close games then blowouts, makes us better. If someone tracks turnovers on OB plays I would love to see it, 350 out of 350 over the last 6 years. Every inbounds is an adventure. Team came up big offensively when we needed to.— David Barone (@dabar_1) January 16, 2021
St. John’s defense was excellent. Cannot be sloppy against them— John VanDeCar (@jcvdc21120) January 16, 2021
Up Next: A week off! Marquette was supposed to host Georgetown this coming Wednesday, but the Hoyas have gone on a COVID pause so that game is off. The next scheduled game is Saturday, January 23 at Fiserv Forum with DePaul as the slated opponent. As I type this, the Blue Demons are up 15 at the half in a hastily scheduled game against Valparaiso. If they hold on, that will move DePaul to 2-4 on the season with the four losses coming in the four Big East games that they have played.