MU vs. USU Grades
Marquette has passed the test, and all I can say is thank God that the first round is over for the Golden Eagles. Marquette looked like a Final Four the first 15 minutes of this game, finding and hitting any shot they wanted and playing the best defense they have played all year long. Unfortunately, the next 25 minutes were the longest that the Golden Eagles have played to date. For some reason, the offense just vanished and they looked lost once Utah State went to the 2-3 zone. They still managed to pull out the win thanks to Lazar Hayward and solid free throw shooting down the stretch. Let’s take a look at Marquette individually and grade their performances.
PG Maurice Acker (1-4 fg, 5 pts, 1 reb, 2 ast, 2-2 ft) I thought Acker played a pretty decent game but never did anything special in the game. He didn’t attempt any 2 point baskets on offense but took care of the ball by not committing any turnovers. I would have liked to see a few more assists, but Marquette wasn’t hitting anything. He hit two free throws down the stretch and played decent defense against the much bigger Jared Quayle (6’1″). GRADE: B-
SG Jerel McNeal (3-10 fg, 14 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 7-9 ft) I don’t know what has gotten into Jerel, but he just hasn’t played the same since Dominic went down. He had the open shots today and still could not knock them down. He hit his first three point attempt and then missed his last four, but did an excellent job getting to the foul line late and ended up going 7-9 from the stripe. He turned the ball over 5 times and seemed a little out of control at times, something that we have seen since Dominic James went down. His defense was alright as the strengths of Utah State were down low, but if the Golden Eagles want to get past the second round they will need Jerel to score in the 20’s. GRADE: B
SF Wesley Matthews (3-16 fg, 11 points, 8 reb, 1 ast, 5-6 ft) Matthews has also been struggling from the field as of late and it sure didn’t improve today. He loves the deep three and I’m not so sure that’s the shot he should be looking for. He shoots almost 38% from downtown, which is fine, but he looks a lot more comfortable backing down defenders in the post and finishing with a drive or a turnaround jumper. The 8 rebounds were great and he was great from the free throw line, but overall Wesley’s game needs to get back to where it was in January. That means better shots, more drives to the hoop, and smarter passes. GRADE: C
PF Lazar Hayward (9-16 fg, 26 pts, 8 reb, 0 ast, 5-6 ft) Without question, the MVP of the game goes to Lazar Hayward. He came out of the gates firing, scoring the first 10 points for the Golden Eagles. From there, he played the pick and pop offense better than we have seen him do it all year. He also played great in post and had a few nice drives to the hoop, showing off his potential ability to play the 3 to NBA scouts. He came up with big rebounds and continued his great free throw shooting. If Lazar didn’t have the game he had, Marquette would most likely be packing their suitcases. GRADE: A
C Dwight Burke (0-1 fg, 0 points, 3 reb, 0 ast, 0-0 ft) Not a whole lot in the scorebook for Burke, but he was outstanding in the low post on Wilkinson. Most of Wilkinson’s points came against Hayward or outside 15 feet. Burke was great on the big man, and despite his drive that drew a charge early in the game he didn’t make many mistakes. It didn’t show up in the box score, but Burke had a huge impact on this game. GRADE: B-
6th Jimmy Butler (1-1 fg, 2 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast, 0-0 ft) Butler had his least efficient game since Dominic’s injury but still managed to log some decent minutes for Buzz and the Eagles. He managed 4 rebounds including what is becoming his signature put-pack off a miss and added two nice steals on defense. Defensively he did not play very well, allowing too many offense rebounds and he had a couple cheap fouls that we saw from him earlier in the year. I expect him to come back strong against a faster Missouri team, where he will get into the flow of the game a little easier. GRADE: C+
7th David Cubillan (0-1 fg, 0 pts, 0 reb, 1 ast, 0-0 ft) Not a lot to talk about here as Cubillan came in and played some good defense for Buzz. He took a jump shot off of a screen that probably wasn’t in the game plan and picked up a cheap foul, but overall he played just the way his role suits him to play. Look for him to log the same amount of minutes at the same times in the game against Missouri and beyond. GRADE: B-
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