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Game #25: St. John's 59, Marquette 73

Box score

As mentioned in the pregame notes, I'd seen the date of the Marquette/ St. John's game and started making plans for a trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. Maybe I would see the Milwaukee sights, eat some steak or bratwurst, catch a game.

As the conference season started, I held back from buying the tickets... just to see if the team would be competitive against top squads.

Glad I didn't pay money to travel and attend this dog of a game. Bark, woof, turd.

St John's horse logoSometimes I appreciate Sean Evans' hustle. But games like last night, where Dele Coker gets some minutes and doesn't foul out, make me think that Coker could do most of what Evans does - except for the defense against agile forwards, which isn't shut down defense anyway - with added dimensions of a semblance of a jump shot and aggressive shot blocking.

St John's horse logoFor some reason, Phil Wait played a minute - in fact, exactly one possession. In this time, he did not touch the ball; after a foul shot from McNeal, TyShwan Edmondson came in. Speaking of Edmondson, what happened to Quincy Roberts? Apparently injured somehow... he had a calf problem, or some kind of leg problem. Not that it would have been a help, but still, Ty's not ready to give good minutes against Marquette.

St John's horse logoSNY's halftime show couldn't even get St. John's logo right, putting up the Rutgers logo while Lenn Robbins and Gary Apple did the analysis. Coupled with the Big M Racetrack test pattern as Sean Evans held the ball with under 8 seconds on the shot clock... I almost think SportsNY was making fun of St. John's.

Five Keys Recap

The Basics: Shoot Better, Stop Them From Shooting. Well, the Red Storm shot better, and they matched them in field goal percentage. The Golden Eagles put up more shots, due to the turnovers. But the Golden Eagles definitely left some points on the floor with some fumbled passes and blown point-blank attempts. Unmentioned in the basics is Coach Roberts' insistence on having 5'8" Malik Boothe throw the ball in on some inbounds plays, though his defender is always taller, forcing the small point guard to throw lollipop passes to key in the ball. To Boothe's credit, the jump stop then shot wasn't too bad.

Less Helter and Less Skelter. Boothe had a terrible game. So did everyone else. There were 15 turnovers that were not steals - let's call those unforced turnovers, even though it's defense and defensive pressure that causes a team to step on the baseline or toss the ball into the stands. But it's not just about Boothe - it's about the undisciplined drives of Sean Evans, the crossover-then-airball shot attempt from Ty Edmondson, the passes that were picked off or deflected because the Red Storm player was passing out of trouble, and the traps that the team didn't pass out of.

Fast In The Right Spurts. It took the Golden Eagles a while, but when they got on track, they broke open the game with 3:00 left and didn't look back. St. John's did okay at trying to play their pace, but the ballhandling didn't allow them to control the game. Neither did being forced to work the offense 30 feet out, or the passes out of trouble, or the ball pressure...

Offensive Rebounding. Marquette had about the same offensive rebounding percentage (around 30%) in a stat St. John's needed to dominate.

Get Burrell and Horne Clicking… Which Means Running Your Offense. For some reason, Burrell didn't start... but got the most minutes of the forwards. But he only put up 4 shots, officially, with 5 foul shots. He scored 4 points. Horne led the team in scoring with 23 points on 15 points. But he had little help, and Kennedy put up 13 shots, which netted 9 points.

Postgame Media

Once again, nothing from the New York media outlets. Except a blurb from Mike Vaccaro:

I like Norm Roberts a lot, and have wanted him to win very badly at St. John's because every now and again it is worth rooting for the good guys in sports to win a little bit, not let the scoundrels have all the fun. That said . . . it's time. I mean, when St. John's is reduced to having a request for a dismissed coach in a Whack, and not a series of outraged columns, you know how far things have fallen.

+ Statsheet
+ Red Storm Sports box score

AP Via Go Marquette (Official Site): No. 10/12 Golden Eagles Stifle St. John's, 73-59

Dominic James figured No. 10 Marquette might come out a little rusty on offense. That was a trade-off coach Buzz Williams was willing to make.

After watching his team drop two straight games on the road thanks in large part to defensive lapses, Williams had his starters spend entire practices playing defense. The grunt work paid off in a a 73-59 victory over St. John's on Saturday.

"We haven't touched a basketball on the offensive end since we got back, and that's no exaggeration," James said.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Defense helps MU end brief skid

"But like I told our guys, all of us in some sort of way. . . we all grew up eating hamburgers. And I think over the last 10 days we probably thought that we deserved to eat steaks. We need to get back to eating hamburgers.

"If that means hamburgers with cheese or Hamburger Helper, that's got to be what our team is. We're not a filet mignon team."

The approach worked wonders. MU feasted on 24 turnovers by guard-depleted St. John's and also tied a season high with 14 steals en route to getting itself back on track after a two-game slide.

Golden Eagles Blog: Recap: St. John's

Cracked Sidewalks: MU Thumps SJU 73-59