Saturday, January 19, 2019

Green’s five things to watch for in Sunday’s game between Providence and No. 15 Marquette

Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The Big East race is up for grabs early and No. 15 Marquette can stay within arms of No. 22 Villanova for the top spot with a win over Providence on Sunday at Fiserv Forum. Here are my five things to watch for.

1) Diallo, the double-double machine:

With A.J. Reeves out for a little more than a month with a foot injury, Alpha Diallo has carried more of the scoring load to make up for the loss. The junior guard has produced six double-doubles this season.

Diallo comes into Sunday’s game as Providence’s leader in PPG (17.2), RPG (8.7) and APG (3.4) and will need to elevate his game in hopes to make it back-to-back wins.

2) Hauser of cards:

With Markus Howard a game-time decision for Sunday’s game with back tightness, Sam Hauser could be called upon once more as Marquette’s top option on offense.

The Golden Eagles could be in good hands as Hauser stepped up with a career-high 31 points at Georgetown on Feb. 15 after Howard left the game after the first four minutes. The performance propelled Hauser to become the 50th member of the 1,000-point club at Marquette.

3) Anim away:

In need of other scorers outside of Howard and Sam Hauser, Sacar Anim has provided that additional outlet with an average of 11.4 points per game in Big East play.

If Howard can’t go, then Anim’s value will be needed on the floor as he season-high came against Xavier on Jan. 6 with 20 points.

4) Duke of hazzard:

The highly touted freshman has begun to deliver with 16 of his 18 points coming in the second half in a 72-63 win at Seton Hall on Jan. 15.

Duke responded after being limited to 14 minutes by Providence coach Ed Cooley in the 96-90 overtime loss to Georgetown on Jan. 12.

5) Dwyane Wade Day:

Unrelated to the game, but significant as arguably the face of Marquette basketball this generation in Dwayne Wade will return to be honored at Fiserv Forum on Sunday morning.

Before winning multiple championships in the National Basketball Association, Wade put the Golden Eagles back on the national map as he led them to an improbable run to the Final Four in the 2002-03 season, which was the school’s first since 1977 national title team.

Wade will be honored throughout the day starting with a press conference on Sunday at 9:45 a.m. CT prior to tipoff.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Big East mid-week recap for Jan. 17

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Things continue to stay tight in the Big East as schools third through eighth are separated by a half game in the standings.

Tuesday, Jan. 15:

Providence 72, Seton Hall 63

- The Friars became the last team to win a Big East game as they rode freshman guard David Duke to a game-high 18 points. Alpha Diallo continued his steady play with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Seton Hall leading scorer Myles Powell had a night to forget as he was held to a season-low 12 points, on 4-of-15 from the field.

No. 15 Marquette 74, Georgetown 71

No Markus Howard, no issues for Marquette as Sam Hauser stepped up in the guard’s absence with a career-high 31 points.

Marquette preserved the win on a block by Theo John in the closing seconds as he finished with 14 points and six rebounds. In defeat, Mac McGlung led Georgetown with 24 points.

Wednesday, Jan. 16:

St. John’s 81, Creighton 66

After sitting out against DePaul with a back strain, Shamorie Ponds returned to the St. John’s lineup and produced a game-high 22 points in a 15-point win.

Mustapha Heron chipped in with 18 points for the Red Storm as they pulled away in the second half after holding a 39-34 lead on the Bluejays at the half.

Known for its outstanding perimeter shooting, Creighton went ice cold going 11-of-35 and could not buy a break for most of the evening. Freshman Marcus Zegarowski emerged with a team-high 17 points in defeat.

Butler 87, DePaul 69

The Bulldogs used a strong perimeter game going 13-of-28 as they bounced back from back-to-back one-point losses with an 18-point win at the Blue Demons.

Known primarily as a scorer, Kamar Baldwin recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, with 10 of those grabs in the first half.

DePaul’s frontcourt carried the load in defeat as Femi Olujobi and Paul Reed combined for 43 points.

On deck:

Friday, Jan. 18:

Xavier (11-7, 3-2 BE) at No. 22 Villanova (13-4, 4-0 BE), 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19:

St. John’s (15-3, 3-3 BE) at Butler (11-7, 2-3 BE), 4:30 p.m.
DePaul (10-6, 2-3 BE) at Seton Hall (12-6, 3-3 BE), 8 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 20:

Providence (11-6, 1-3 BE) at No. 15 Marquette (15-3, 4-1 BE), Noon

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Green's five takeaways from Butler's 87-69 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Justin Casterline- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In a game which saw 11 lead changes, the Butler Bulldogs (11-7, 2-3 Big East) unleashed a perimeter attack in the second half, which proved to be too much for the DePaul Blue Demons (10-6, 2-3 Big East) in an 87-69 win at Wintrust Arena. Here are my five takeaways from Chicago.

1) Butler’s three-point barrage:

With multiple lead changes within a close stretch from the end of the first half to the early stages of the second half, Butler’s three-point barrage provided a much-needed cushion to go up 16 points at the 12-minute mark in the second half.

Four consecutive three-point makes from Aaron Thompson and Jordan Tucker with two each, highlighted a 13-of-28 night from long range, which lifted the Bulldog fans and bench to their feet.

“We were in the moment and all in the zone,” Tucker said. “All we were talking about is finish the game and was enough motivation for us to go on the run.”

Butler shot 71.4 percent from the field in the second half and Leitao did not like the lack of urgency from DePaul’s defense.

“We were chasing the ball around and late to a lot of our assignments, whether it was ball-screen or transition defenses, there were a lot of aspects that was late and Butler did a great job of moving the ball around,” Leitao said.

2) Tucker’s emergence from outsider to primetime player:

In need of more consistent scoring outside of Baldwin, Tucker put together his best game to date for the Bulldogs with 19 points, on 5-of-8 from long range.

The Duke transfer saw Wednesday’s night performance as a harbinger of things to come in conference play and credited Butler coach LaVall Jordan in believing in him from the first day he stepped on campus.

“Coach [Jordan] has been on me about being more comfortable in the offense and working on development, which paid off tonight,” Tucker said.

Butler’s success in the Big East and a potential fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid will hinge on players like Tucker, Sean McDermott and Aaron Thompson to turn in more consistent performances on a nightly basis.

3) Baldwin did it all:

Known primarily as a scorer, Kamar Baldwin was active at or near the paint as he grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, to go along with 17 points for his first career double-double. 10 of Baldwin’s 14 rebounds came in the first half, which allowed the Bulldogs to get second chances and remain toe-to-toe with the Blue Demons.

Baldwin deferred to his teammates for being in their proper spots, which allowed the junior to get the rebounds at precise times.

“Honestly, it was a team effort as everyone did their job and boxed out,” Baldwin said. “They did all of the hard work, which made it easy for me.”

4) Blue Demons big men excelled:

With Jaylen Butz and Jalen Coleman-Lands out due to injuries, forwards Paul Reed and Femi Olujobi carried the scoring load for DePaul.

Olujobi left off from a 27-point outing at St. John’s on Jan. 12, with 23, on 9-of-13 shooting and 2-of-3 from long range, while Reed finished with a career-high 20 points.

Despite Olujobi’s breakout in Big East play, DePaul coach Dave Leitao knows it will take more than the frontcourt to have a chance to win more games.

“It’s a little bit of a Catch 22. We have been waiting for [Femi] to emerge, but also we can’t be a one-dimensional team,” Leitao said. “As much as Femi is coming along, Eli [Cain] didn’t have a great game tonight and Max [Strus] wasn’t himself. It’s got to be a group effort and not be about one guy only.”

5) Strus contained once more:

The previous meeting between the two schools at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 3, 2018 saw Butler contain DePaul sharpshooter Max Strus as he was held to eight points. Wednesday night proved to be more of the same as Strus finished with 12 points, on 1-of-7 from three-point range.

Strus would not be the only shooter handcuffed as Devin Gage and Eli Cain finished 1-of-8 and 3-of-17 from the field, respectively.

“There were a lot of shots we took that was not off good ball movement,” Leitao said of DePaul’s shooting woes.