“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
I pose to you the question: Was Charles Dickens talking about the difference between the first and second halves of tonight’s Marquette/Purdue game?
Both teams can easily say that their team played like crap for 20 minutes and then extremely well for 20 minutes. For Marquette, it was bad, then good. For Purdue, it was vice versa. Thankfully for those of us cheering for the Golden Eagles, Marquette’s Good was better than Purdue’s Good, and thus you have MU moving to 2-0 on the year with the 66-55 victory on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum.
It’s Marquette’s first win in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, as well as their first ever win against Purdue in 10 tries. It’s also apparently the biggest comeback win in Steve Wojciechowski’s tenure, which means it’s just barely beating out the 17 point comeback against Villanova when the Wildcats came into Milwaukee ranked #1 in the country.
Seriously though, the first half stunk, and it reeked from the get-go. Marquette fell behind 9-0 straight out of the gate and they looked bad doing it. When Matt Haarms scored to make it 9-0, Marquette had more turnovers (2) than shots (1). Not good! MU then scored the next eight points to make it 9-8, and for a few minutes, the game hovered in the competitive department.
With 8:21 left in the half, Jahaad Proctor scored for Purdue, putting the Boilermakers up 21-17. That bucket kicked off a 10-0 run for Matt Painter’s team that eventually turned into a 16-1 run. After two free throws from Koby McEwen, Sasha Stefanovic hit one of his two threes in the game, and BOOM: Purdue up 18, 38-20. MU scored the final five points of the half to make it a 13 point game at the break, but no one was feeling good about it.
HALFTIME: Purdue 38, Marquette 25.— Anonymous Eagle (@AnonymousEagle) November 14, 2019
That sucked, and it sucked right from the start and it didn’t stop sucking. #mubb
Koby McEwen opened up the scoring in the second half, and there has never been a more accurate thing written in the history of things. Why? Well, it’s very simple. That bucket counted for two of McEwen’s 18 points in the second half.... as he... and I’m not kidding here.... outscored Purdue all by himself.
No, seriously, he did, as Purdue managed just 17 points after halftime. They didn’t have a field goal in the final 6 minutes AT ALL.
But I get ahead of myself.
Marquette came out of the locker room ripping and roaring, and before six minutes had gone by, the Golden Eagles had started out the half with a 14-5 run. The lead was down to just four, just like that. Purdue held it together for a while, staying pace with Marquette, and then a monster three from McEwen knotted it up at 49.
Proctor answered with a triple of his own 22 seconds later.... and that would be Purdue’s final field goal of the game. A three by Sacar Anim was followed on the next possession by a leaner in the lane from Anim, and TA-DA, Marquette had their first lead. Quite honestly, that was damn near miraculous that it was Anim doing the work, as he went down seemingly with a head injury late in the first half.
Those buckets kicked off an 11-0 run for Marquette that was broken up by a freebie from Proctor with less than a minute to go. It wasn’t a GREAT 11-0 run, given that it took five minutes to play out, but is there really such a thing as a bad 11-0 run? A pair of Haarms free throws, surprising as he missed earlier to give everyone free Shake Shack, cut it back to a five point game, and then it was time for McEwen to lock it up. The junior transfer from Utah State coldly knocked in four straight free throws, and that was pretty much that.
McEwen led all scorers with 23 points, connecting on half of his shots and going 3-for-7 from downtown. McEwen also chipped in five rebounds and four assists, which is a nice day at the office. Markus Howard added 18, becoming MU’s first ever 2,000 point scorer on an and-1 three-pointer in the first half. Theo John was super, getting six points and nine rebounds to go with a block and two steals. Jamal Cain was quietly great, getting six points and seven rebounds, but more importantly looking miles and miles and miles better than he did at any point a year ago.
Can I interest you in some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette definitely plays a game on the road on Sunday. Tipoff is at noon Central.