Hopefully, at the end of the season, no one thinks twice about what happened at Fiserv Forum on Saturday night.
But for now, we have to think about it, and the fact of the matter is that Marquette just did not look great across the length and breadth of 40 minutes in their 82-68 victory over Chicago State. The win is MU’s second straight after beating Georgia Tech in the Rocket Mortgage Tip Off consolation game and moves the Golden Eagles to 5-2 on the year.
Okay, let’s talk about how exactly Marquette won this game. We’re going to fast forward to the 8:44 mark of the first half, which is when Wesley Cardet scored in the paint to put Chicago State up 24-19, the third time that they had crested their advantage to six points on MU in the opening 12 minutes. Yeah, it was like that. On MU’s ensuing possession, Ben Gold got a bucket to go to kick off a 9-0 run by the Golden Eagles. Gold’s second and final bucket of the game answered another basket from Cardet and jumpstarted a 12-2 run by the Golden Eagles. 40-29 Marquette after a three-pointer from Kam Jones to cap off that burst.
CSU would score twice in the final 40 seconds of the half to make it 40-33 at intermission, but hey: That’s still 21-9 over the final 8:44 for Marquette. Pretty good stuff, and that kept going in the second half. Tyler Kolek cracked open the scoring after the break by raining in three free throws, and that started off a 10-0 run by the Golden Eagles coming out of the locker room. It was 14-3 MU after halftime before the Cougars finally got a field goal with 12:28 left in the game.
All told, that’s a 35-12 run by Marquette. That’s how you win a game.
A dunk from Olivier-Maxence Prosper put Marquette up 20 for the first time with 10:49 to play, and a little bit later, a triple from David Joplin made it a 22 point margin, 65-43. That’s 25-10 Marquette just since halftime, 46-19 since they turned on the jets.
The jets were still clearly on with 6:56 to play when Prosper cashed in two freebies to get the lead back to 20 points, 71-51. Two minutes and 12 seconds later, the margin was just 11 as the Golden Eagles just went to sleep or lost their focus or took their foot off the gas, or whatever you want to call it.
Now, the good news is that the lead never got smaller than 11. The bad news is that it also didn’t get back to 15 until Chase Ross scored with 33 seconds left to go. Elijah Weaver hit a free throw with 12 seconds left after a very terrible foul by Oso Ighodaro for his fifth and final strike on the night, and that’s how we get to our final margin.
Good news: MU had that 46-19 run in them across the middle 20 minutes or so against a Chicago State squad that came into the season projected as one of the 10 worst teams in the country.
Bad news: In the other 20 minutes, Marquette got outscored 49-36 by a Chicago State squad that came into the season projected as one of the 10 worst teams in the country.
It’s one of those games where, months from now, you look at Marquette scoring 1.09 points per possession and winning all of the Four Factors while allowing just 0.91 points per possession and you say “yeah, and?” but in the moment, sitting down to write a recap for example, you are left with a very bad taste in your mouth from what appeared to be a very unfocused effort from the Golden Eagles.
I didn’t think that OMax Prosper looked like he was having a particularly great game, but he finished with a game high 18 points and his first career double-double thanks to 11 rebounds with four of the caroms coming on the offensive end. Kam Jones (15) and Oso Ighodaro (13) both got to double digits for Marquette as well. Tyler Kolek had a game high eight assists to lead Marquette to 20 helpers on 29 makes in the game.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: Well, hopefully Marquette got all of the post-Thanksgiving letdown out of their system on Saturday night. On Tuesday night, the Golden Eagles will host their end of the yearly Big East/Big 12 Battle when Baylor comes to town. The Bears are currently ranked #7 in the country and are 5-1 on the season after hammering McNeese State by 29 on Wednesday.