Busting Brackets

Marquette Golden Eagles succeed to mutiny Xavier on their own ship!

 Marquette (22-8) shows their versatility and depth as they battle all night against Xavier (15-15) and pull away with a win, without their starting point guard.

Marquette v Xavier
Marquette v Xavier / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

After a tough couple of losses to UCONN and Creighton, Marquette was feeling the loss of their floor general, Tyler Kolek, who we can only hope to see again this year. While MU coach, Shaka Smart’s, adjustments are apparent and seem to be effective at utilizing the depth of the roster, it's been too little too late these past couple of matchups. With this game, Marquette is hoping to take back momentum right before the tournament. The Musketeers are looking to bounce back after the close game against Butler. They have been fighting all season, with mixed results. By achieving a win here, they can end the season with a chip on their shoulder, earning the respect of finishing at .500.

The first half started very quickly with buckets and fouls from both sides. As we’ve seen before, Xavier is one of the few teams that can not only handle Smart’s fast-paced offense but dish some of their own back as well. Defense continued to be a point of emphasis for both teams, doing all they could to stop the ball in transition.

Early into the 1st half, Kam Jones started taking over. He has already shown how he can step up to the plate when the team is down a man, but his control of the floor early on painted him as the temporary leader on the court. He continued to produce, finding Oso Ighodaro, for situations the viewer would have thought impossible. Jones also consistently found himself at the top of the key for open looks and was a menace on the other side of the court, ending with 30 points, 5 rebounds, and a whopping 9 assists.

Xavier’s Quincy Olivari was not going to let these two have a walk in the park, however. With some help from Claude, and McKnight, Olivari kept up with Jones’ pace and facilitated in answering almost everything Marquette had! He ended with 32 points of his own, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. It wasn’t until the very last minutes of regulation that the Golden Eagles started to take a clear lead.

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In the end, nothing could have stopped the dynamic two-man game of Ighodaro and Jones. They combined to have 54 points combined, more than half of their team’s total. Combine that with the roles played by everyone on the Marquette roster, and you get a recipe for success. Hopefully the Golden Eagles can take what they learned here into the tournament.