Marquette men’s basketball went into the locker room at halftime at Carnesecca Arena after a shaky 20 minutes of basketball. St. John’s was doing pretty much anything they wanted to on offense, and the Golden Eagles were barely holding on to keep the thing within shouting distance.
And then the second half started and there was an awful lot of shouting.
Marquette opened up the final 20 minutes on a 16-2 run and used the positive vibes from that four-plus minutes of hoops to propel them to a 96-85 victory over St. John’s in Queens. Not only is Marquette 12-4 on the season, not only is Marquette 4-1 in Big East play for the first time since 2019, but they are now the proud owners of the new record for points scored by a visitor to Carnesecca Arena.
As mentioned, the first half wasn’t great for Marquette. St. John’s was very effective at getting big man Joel Soriano into effective places on the floor, and he responded by hammering Marquette for 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the first 20 minutes. Things officially started turning bad on the scoreboard around the 13 minute mark as a three-pointer from Posh Alexander — he came in shooting 14% and was WHITE HOT off the bench in the first half for the Johnnies — and a jumper from Drissa Traore pushed the SJU advantage out to nine points, 24-15. NOT GOOD!
But Marquette answered, with Tyler Kolek kicking off an 11-2 run with an and-1, and ta-da, the Golden Eagles had tied the thing up at 26 with 9:48 to go. My god, this was all one quarter of this game.
For a while, it seemed like this was going to settle into a bit of a back and forth game, and that was the case through the five minute mark when a dunk from Oso Ighodaro pulled MU back within one, 36-35. Buckle up, Big East basketball at its finest, etc., right? Nope, St. John’s went on a 7-0 run to take an eight point lead and then extended that to nine on a three from AJ Storr with exactly a minute to go. Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored the final bucket of the first half to make it a seven point game at the break, and with a score of 48-41, we’re all sitting around wondering “hey, I was promised there would be defense.”
We got it to start the second half as the Golden Eagles immediately opened up the frame with a kill, three straight stops, and scored after two of those stops to make it a two point game. Those buckets, a three from Prosper and a layup from Stevie Mitchell, turned out to be the beginning of a 16-2 run to open the second half for Marquette. After Kolek cashed a freebie off an and-1 with 15:23 to go, Marquette was up seven, 57-50. 14 point turnaround, and technically an 18-2 run and a 16 point swing going back to Prosper’s bucket to close the half.
St. John’s answered the call, because of course they did, but MU had more arrows in their quiver. Free throws from Prosper and Sean Jones got the lead back to eight, and a layup from David Joplin pushed the margin to nine. At the 10:09 mark, Prosper got to the rack again for two of his 25 (!!!!) second half points, and the lead was 11.
If you thought the game was over, you are a silly goose. Things kind of turned into a three-point shooting contest for a while there, and Soriano scored to make it a five point game. Shaka Smart called timeout to see if the Golden Eagles could get a handle on things, and handle things they did. Kam Jones splashed a triple out of the break to create some breathing space, and the Golden Eagles started carving themselves a lead to live in. MU just traded points with the Johnnies to keep it in the area of eight points, but St. John’s wasn’t going away quite yet, as Dylan Addae-Wusu got loose in transition and jammed it home to make it a four point game, 83-79, with 3:14 to play.
Got ourselves a basketball game, eh?
NOPE, but in a good way this time. MU answered the defensive miscue with an and-1 from Prosper as SJU had absolutely no idea what to do about him after halftime, and a layup from Kam Jones got the margin to nine with 2:18 to play. From there, Marquette just had to make the smart safe play every time to close it out, and they did, eventually getting it into double digits because St. John’s was being very silly about fouling in the final 40 seconds.
I feel like this didn’t quite get the message across about what exactly Marquette did to St. John’s in the second half. Can I give it to you in raw stats?
In the first half, Marquette scored 1.08 points per possession and allowed 1.26 to the Johnnies.
Second half? 1.45 — no, seriously, 55 points in 38 possessions — for Marquette, just 0.97 for the Red Storm.
We’re all going to look back at this one and say “ah yes, MU took care of business,” but it must be pointed out that Marquette flipped the score of this game by 20 points. They were down nine with 19 minutes played, and then outscored the Red Storm 57-37 over the final 21.
Thanks to his big second half, Olivier-Maxence Prosper finished with a game high 29 points, getting there on 9-for-13 shooting, including a mindbending 4-for-5 from behind the arc and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. He added in a team high seven rebounds for a nice little all around game. Kam Jones (16), Tyler Kolek (14), and Stevie Mitchell (11) all joined him in double digit town, and Kolek had two rebounds, eight assists, and two steals as well.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: There’s no way around this. MU’s next game is coming up on Saturday afternoon, and it is absolutely a must win contest for the Golden Eagles.
The opponent at Fiserv Forum for a 1pm Central time tipoff on FS1? Georgetown. Marquette can not under any circumstances lose to the currently 5-10 and 0-4 in the Big East Hoyas, and Georgetown has to host Villanova on Wednesday night before they travel to Milwaukee.