This was the Golden Eagles team we all expected this year. 52% on field goals, 59% from 3-point-land, 81% from the charity stripe, 12 blocks; ok, the “blocks” stat was an added perk. Marquette beating Butler 75-69 January 30th was HUGE (said in best Trump impersonation), but…here’s my cold water toss into your face: It’s a little too late.
Yes, Henry Ellenson FINALLY showed why he’s an All-American and why he COULD be a draft pick. 32 points on 8-14 shooting, 14-16 from the line and 2-2 from three. And only one foul…which for me is really important since he manages nearly 2 offensive fouls per game and I found that to be quite concerning. He was a MONSTER against Butler and it was great. It was a huge turnaround from the game against Stetson where he slept through the second half.
Yes, Tracy Carter appeared to have a fire lit under him as he popped 5-7 from behind the arc for all his points for the game. Add the four assists behind Jujuan Johnson’s six and we see a team that is clicking just in time for a run towards the Big East Conference and the NCAA Tournament.
Yes, Luke Fischer was scoreless during the game but put up a hell of defense down the stretch and with Ellenson swatted Butler 11 of the 12 times away from basket. Marquette could have used the scoring but needed the defense as they nearly let the lead slip away in the second half.
And therein lies the rub. Marquette can play a great 20 minutes. It’s the second 20 minutes that has me worried about the rest of the season. The Golden Eagles find ways to lose. There are 9 games left. Four at home: Providence, Creighton, Villanova and Georgetown. Away games: Seton Hall, Xavier, DePaul, Creighton and Butler to end the regular season. Only one-game stands out as a sure-bet: DePaul. Except, they beat Marquette at home January 20th…and a minority of the Marquette faithful started calling for Head Coach Steve Wojciechowski’s ouster.
If Marquette plays like they did against Butler and picks-up the pace in the second-half of games, they could win seven of those nine. I’m Catholic. I have faith. I’m also a glutton for punishment.
(photo) Ellenson after the game talking about how how he knew he had a bad outing against Stetson and needed to turn it around against Butler.