We had a perfectly normal basketball game for about seven minutes.
Marquette had built a 17-8 lead on visiting Central Michigan in the first game that MU had played at the McGuire Center on campus since the 2018 NIT after a free throw from Chase Ross with 13:28 to go. CMU answered on the other end with a three-pointer from Jesse Zarzuela, and it was 17-11 ..... and the Chippewas would not score again for nearly four minutes. That lone bucket would be their only points for nearly six minutes as Marquette ripped off a 20-2 run that turned into 28-4. 5:57 left in the first half, and MU was up 30, 45-15.
The game was, effectively, over.
Yeah, yeah, CMU outscored Marquette 14-2 over the rest of the first half. Yeah, yeah, it was only an 18 point lead at the break after leading by 30 in the first 20 minutes. Yeah, yeah, Sean Jones would put MU back up 29 with 13:18 left in the first half before the Chips got it back down under 20 with 6:26. None of this matters. David Joplin blasted off three-pointers on three straight possessions after that to send the lead back to 30 with 3:57 to go and that was that. Your final from North 12th Street: Marquette 97, Central Michigan 73.
Now, all of that other stuff happened, which means that Shaka Smart and his staff will have a whole bunch of things to talk about with the team about intensity for 40 minutes and not playing sloppy and dialing in on defense on every possession and all of that kind of stuff. For the purposes of “recap the important things that happened in this game,” we have done so. Marquette did a very good thing in the first half and was never really in danger the rest of the way.
David Joplin easily sailed past his previous career best of 10 points, going for 23 in this one. Heck, he beat his previous best scoring night just in the first half against CMU, finishing with 11 points at intermission after providing a big lift to MU’s offense with his first few buckets. He didn’t score at all in the second half until the 5:19 mark when Central Michigan was ever so slightly starting to creep back into the game. He hit three triples in less than 90 seconds to put the Golden Eagles up 30 with under four to play and drained one final three with just over a minutes left to put some icing on the cake.
Chase Ross (11 points), Ben Gold (11 points), and Sean Jones (9 points) all had career best as well. Gold’s buckets were particularly notable as he had two of them almost right off the bat in the second half when Oso Ighodaro picked up a very quick third foul of the game. Smart put Ighodaro on the bench to project him from further trouble, and it definitely looked like Tyler Kolek and Stevie Michtell decided to make every effort to make sure that Gold felt comfortable on the floor with them.
He also had this insane poster late.
Up Next: Time to jump into the fire! Marquette’s next game will be down in Indiana on Tuesday night as they visit Purdue for the yearly Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Boilermakers won their opener on this past Tuesday, beating Milwaukee 84-63, and they’ll host Austin Peay on Friday before Marquette comes to town.