It goes in the books as an 11 point win, but it was also something of a statement by YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles as they picked up the 87-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night. After the win, MU is now 11-6 overall on the year and an even 3-3 in Big East play.
If you fired up FS1’s All-Access broadcast expecting to see Marquette annihilate the Blue Demons the same way that they dispatched Providence and Georgetown last time out, well, you were disappointed for the first 20 minutes of the game. After Marquette got out to a 22-14 lead with just under 11 minutes left to go, DePaul outscored MU 29-22 the rest of the way to make it a one point game, 44-43, at the break. Sure, DePaul caught a tiny break with a foul called juuuuust before the horn, but that only let them tack on one extra point. The point of the story is that the building tide of the first nine minutes dissipated as the Golden Eagles allowed DePaul to post a 53% effective field goal percentage and haul in 55% of what few shots they did miss for a second chance.
We seemed to be on the verge of another game with a “WHAT DID WE JUST TALK ABOUT” timeout from Shaka Smart as the Blue Demons got a bucket from Javon Freeman-Liberty to open the second half and a layup from Yor Anei to take a 47-44 lead less than a minute in. But Kur Kuath got MU’s first points after the break, and Darryl Morsell went straight to the rim the next time down to put MU back out in front.
Only for a second though, as a JFL triple, one of three on the night for the DePaul star, went down to put the Blue Demons back in front. Morsell answered with one of his own, and after a Justin Lewis block on the other end, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, limited to just five first half minutes due to fouls, buried a three to make it 54-50.
Marquette never trailed again.
Hell, Marquette never looked like anything but the dominant team again.
Morsell’s triple kicked off a 12-2 run by the Golden Eagles that left them up 60-52 with 14:46 to play. Back-to-back triples from Kam Jones a little bit later, including a huge massive one-on-three transition jumper from the Tennessean, technically turned that run into an 18-4 blitz, and MU was up 66-54 with 12:48 to go.
It just kept going from there. The blitzing level of play you saw at its peak against Providence and Georgetown? It was all over the place in the second half..... right up to a dunk in transition from Justin Lewis with 3:48 to go. That made it 87-68, and the Golden Eagles had their biggest lead of the game, 19 points.
You will notice, of course, that Marquette did not score again.
This is mostly fine. Over the next couple of stoppages, head coach Shaka Smart cycled out his starters, giving David Joplin and Emarion Ellis their first action in the game. DePaul tacked on eight points to bring the game a little bit closer, but it was never really a “OH BOY HERE COMES DEPAUL” situation. I’m sure that Smart will love to make the point to his bench guys that they didn’t bring it as hard as they need to every single minute of every single game..... but the point of putting them in was to tell DePaul head coach Tony Stubblefield that we’re just trying to burn some clock over here.
Somehow we have gotten through all of this without mentioning Greg Elliott, which actually makes sense. At one point in this game, he converted all three free throws after being fouled on a long range attempt to bring his scoring total in the game to 20. My reaction to this? WHEN DID HE SCORE 17 OTHER POINTS? I was literally shocked to find out that he had 20, it just did not compute. One of the quieter career high 25 point games that you’ll ever see, especially since he was nearly unstoppable with a 7-for-11 shooting performance and 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. He also added two rebounds, five assists, and two steals, so he was all over the place.
Darryl Morsell (16), Oso Ighodaro (11), Justin Lewis (11), and Kur Kuath (10) all joined Elliott in Double Digit Town, with Kuath and Lewis tying for the team high in rebounds with five. Tyler Kolek had a 5/4/10 night, setting a new career high in assists, with a steal and a block in 30 minutes.
Can I interest you in some highlights? They’re pretty fun, courtesy of Fox Sports and GoMarquette.com.
Up Next: The Seven Game Stretch Of Doom begins on Saturday. KenPom.com, even after updating following this game, has Marquette not favored in any of the next seven games, and there’s a real possibility that the Golden Eagles will face a ranked team in each and every one of them.
First up, though, is #20 Seton Hall. The Pirates are 11-3 overall and 2-2 in Big East action after beating UConn in overtime on Saturday. They will stop in Chicago to play DePaul on Thursday night before coming to Milwaukee for an 11am Central time tipoff on Saturday morning.