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That’s A Rake: Butler 85, #18 Marquette 79

The Golden Eagles couldn’t get a stop in the first half to save their life and that was that.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Butler
I presume Chuck Harris made this.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The 85-79 final score looks like #18 ranked Marquette lost a tough fought game against a Butler team that was under .500 on the year before and after the contest. That’s not necessarily a good result for a team ranked in the AP top 25, but it’s also not what happened.

Here’s a rundown of all of Butler’s possessions in the first 14+ minutes of the game:

  • Bo Hodges missed three-pointer
  • Bo Hodges missed layup
  • Aaron Thompson turnover
  • Bryce Golden three-pointer
  • Bryce Nze layup
  • Aaron Thompson offensive foul
  • Bo Hodges offensive foul
  • Bryce Golden dunk
  • Bryce Nze three-pointer
  • Chuck Harris three-pointer
  • Bryce Nze alley-oop
  • Bo Hodges three-pointer
  • Chuck Harris three-pointer
  • Simas Lukosius layup
  • Bo Hodges three-pointer
  • Bryce Golden put-back and-1
  • Simas Lukosius jumper
  • Bryce Nze layup
  • Simas Lukosius missed three-pointer
  • Jayden Taylor missed jumper
  • Bryce Golden missed three-pointer
  • Bo Hodges three-pointer
  • Jayden Taylor dunk
  • Bryce Golden pair of free throws

40-19, Butler leads, 5:38 to go. Butler would go just 1-for-10 from the field the rest of the way in the first half, and even with that being the case, the Bulldogs wrapped up the first half shooting 16-for-36 (44.4%) from the field, including 7-for-16 (43.8%) from behind the arc. That all combines to have Butler shooting an effective field goal percentage of 54.2% in the first half and leading 42-27 at the break.

As I look at KenPom.com now that the game has actually updated to the website, Butler is shooting, on the year, 30.9% from behind the arc and 47.6% when it comes to effective field goal percentage.

At the end of 40 minutes of basketball, Butler shot 46.4% from long range and posted an effective field goal percentage of 59.2%.

In short: Marquette did not do anywhere near a good enough job playing defense for 20 minutes — honestly, even just for 15 minutes — of a 40 minute game, and let themselves fall behind by 21 points in the process. This was too much of a deficit, as MU didn’t get it to single digits until there was under 10 minutes to go and never got closer than four points.

Did they have a chance to win the game anyway because a Tyler Kolek three-pointer cut it to four points with 4:44 to go? Yes! Did they deserve to? No! Did they actually pull it off? Not even close, ultimately, and that’s because they just let an awful shooting team shoot shots comfortably in the first half instead of playing the aggressive and violent defense that head coach Shaka Smart wants them to play.

No discussion of who had what nice stats in this one, because no one’s stats matter when you get trampled coming out of the starting gate like Marquette did in this one.

Up Next: The Golden Eagles return home for a Wednesday night battle with Georgetown. After two straight games where MU did not play up to their defensive ability and may we even say requirements, it is paramount that they do not do the same against the Hoyas. Georgetown is 6-17 on the year, 0-12 in Big East play, and ranked #209 in KenPom at the moment. They have to visit Creighton on Monday for their sixth game in the first 14 days of February before they make it to Milwaukee.