In hindsight, this was a great game to not have televised. Like Georgetown last season, our first Big East road game was a complete domination by the home team.
Elsewhere, Georgetown pulled out the win against a strong UCONN challenge with a Roy Hibbert three pointer, of all things. More on that later.
No tv or live stats from ESPN, so this will be a tough post using what I could hear on the radio plus some incomplete numbers from SI.com.
Way too many turnovers. I believe the final count was over 20. Marquette did a great job of harassing us all over the floor. This lead to poor shooting and plenty of wasted possessions. Luke Harangody had another monster performance, but just like in the Virgin Islands he was unable to bring about the victory.
Tory Jackson really needs to learn to shoot free throws. Our point guard can't be such a liability from the stripe in close games. 0 for 4 today. We joked about his ability to knock down both against UCONN with a swollen eye, but I think it is indicative of his lack of concentration. Had an early night today fouling out midway through the second half, but the game was already in hand.
Remember my earlier analysis about how the team struggles without Kyle McAlarney, no matter how well Bamm-Bamm plays? I couldn't have been more dead-on (I'm actually more surprised about this than you are). 3 of 10 shooting, 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. Great perimeter defense by the Golden Eagles took away our outside looks, so nothing personal against Kyle. Still he has to contribute more than 8 points if the team is going to win on the road against a ranked opponent.
Back to that love-hate relationship with Ryan Ayers. Before the game I mentioned that he has to step it up and look for his shot when Mac is cold. How did he respond to the team's need? 0 points, only 3 attempts. You have to be kidding. We're getting drilled on the road and one of our best perimeter shooters takes only three attempts. He also made a couple mental mistakes including not looking for a pass in transition. You've gotta be better than that, Ryan. We need someone to step up and look for scoring opportunities when the opposition shuts down McAlarney. Harangody had a great afternoon, Kurz always provides a decent share, Jackson is not a scorer, so someone else has to step it up. If not Ayers, let's see if someone else can do the job.
Kurz had a quiet day. 9 points, including 2 three pointers. I don't have the rebound statistics. He gets into kind of a strange position on offense. Harangody is obviously the go-to guy down low. Rob has nothing near Luke's ability to score under the hoop. He is very good post player grabbing rebounds and can hit the outside shot when open, but doesn't really have a distinct role on offense. Obviously a great guy to have on the floor, but it is tough to get more scoring out of the guy (obviously his normal dozen points and double-digit rebounds does the job most nights).
How can you not love Luke Harangody? Tied the career-high with 29 points, double-digit rebounds as well. Had to be taken out of the game near the end because he was going to hurt himself diving for loose balls with the game already lost. Gives everything he has into the game and wants to win so badly. Obviously we can't win without getting some help from another guy or two in double figures, but Luke certainly tries to make that possible. We lost by 26 with a dominating performance by the sophomore. I don't even want to imagine the score without him. Keep it up, Luke. Give us a game where K-Mac scores 15-20 and we can play anyone in the country.
Off the bench, Luke Zeller showed a lot of spunk today. Double digit rebounds, I believe. certainly something we have not been used to from the 6'10" forward. Came back from a bloody head injury to keep at it. Zeller is certainly the most disappointing player of the team, mostly because he has been a guard trying to play in the post his whole career. Still, I like his effort and would love to see more production out of him. Hillesland made two free throws, 0-3 from the floor. Peoples had four points. Both Tim Abromaitis and Ty Nash came in and scored 2 points.
Marquette outscored us by 24 from beyond the arc alone. They were 12-24, we were 4-20. That's your stat of the game. Marquette's guards played great perimeter defense and shut us down from outside. We gave the Golden Eagles open look after open look. They knocked half of those down. Poor free throw shooting from us, the 2nd best foul shooting team in the conference. Marquette outshot the Irish 46.6%-39%. Don't have the turnover numbers, but they were over 20 for the Irish, far too many. Add all of that up and its a big blowout.
The Irish did a great job of getting back into the game after a rough start. Clawed back to five a little into the 2nd half, but just could not stop Marquette the rest of the way. We played a great team today and looked unable to win on the road. That will come with time, but the first road game in a hostile environment against some great guards add up to a really tough contest. We shouldn't have lost by that many, but looking at the stats I can certainly see how we fell behind so badly.
Hats off to Marquette, we'll try to get them back at the Joyce. Cincinnati comes into town Tuesday. Need to bounce back and find what made us such a great team against UCONN and West Virginia.
Speaking of the Huskies, they took Georgetown to the wire in D.C. today. Great to see a team we beat play the #1 team in the league so tough. Who knows, maybe the Georgetown game will be a close one. Need to win against Cincy to get back on the right track, but I'm still confident in this squad's ability to do very well this year.
Take a deep breath. It's a tough loss. Still tons of basketball to be played.