The BMO Harris Bradley Center has always treated Marquette nicely. In the 2014-15 season, that hasn't been much different. Aside from a startling loss against Nebraska Omaha, and a defeat at the hands of the in-state rival Wisconsin Badgers, the Golden Eagles have racked up home wins in bunches this year and Milwaukee continues to be a destination that Big East teams despise traveling to.
This was set to be the case when MU welcomed the lowly Creighton Bluejays on Wednesday evening. Both teams are dealing with a heavy dosage of transition this year, but coming out of this game, it seems like these two squads are heading in different directions. Although Creighton hung with Marquette till the waning moments, the case with Creighton this year was evident in this very game. The Bluejays could not get it done at the 3-point line on both sides of the ball, and much like their loss last Saturday to Seton Hall, along the perimeter was where they would lose the game.
Matt Carlino's late 3-pointer pushed the Golden Eagles into the lead, and would be all she wrote. The 3-point basket gave Marquette its 10th win of the season. MU picked up win number 10 on January 11 last year, so this team seems to be on a similar pace. There's a growing sense of optimism about this team in 2015 and beyond but as we found out, there might be some developing already taking place.
With that said, here's Conner Handel and I's analysis of this matchup from Marquette's perspective:
Marquette team observations
- The Golden Eagles unfortunately took a hit in the rebounding battle. They lost in OR% and DR% by the tally of 29.7 percent-14.8 percent, and 85.2 percent-70.3 percent respectively.
- Marquette's FT% hovered around its usual average of 67.5 percent (66.7 percent in this contest), but that was good enough for them to edge out the usually pristine-shooting Jays. Creighton shot just 62.5 percent on eight free throw attempts. Interestingly enough, this seems to be a recent trend for teams going to Milwaukee. For whatever rhyme or reason, after opposing teams shot a staggering 75.0 percent in Marquette's first five home games. In their last five, teams have shot just 60.3 percent from the line, including this 5-for-8 mark on Wednesday.
- MU held Creighton to a PPP of 0.87. Thus far this season, they're allowing 0.919 points per possession at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Much like the sudden dip in FT%, the Golden Eagles appear to be improving defensively at home as well. After omitting 0.992 points per possession in their first five games, MU has held down the fort recently, only letting teams score 0.846 points per possession in the last five. Defensively, this team seems to be maintaining a grasp on things.
- Speaking of defense, holding Creighton to just 21 points in the first half was a huge benefactor in the win. The defense slipped up in the second half, nearly letting CU back into the mix, but this was very ideal for them and helped them get the win, especially along the perimeter where Creighton's 3-point shooting ways were stalled often.
- The team will have to continue to try and limit turnovers. They committed 15 in this game, for a TO% of 25.0 percent. Juxtaposed against Creighton's 20.0 percent mark, neither team did a good job of keeping good care of the ball, and it didn't seem to help or hurt either team. That said, MU is usually good at not making mistakes, so this will have to improve when they hit the road against Xavier this Saturday.
Marquette individual observations
- Duane Wilson had his best shooting performance since knocking down five threes in Marquette's win versus Tennessee. Against Creighton he was 3-of-6 from downtown and 5-of-10 from the field for 17 points. He led the way for Marquette in the second half with 14 points. Matt Carlino was his only other teammate to score in the second half.
- Matt Carlino put the Golden Eagles on his back, scoring his second highest output in his Marquette career with 19 points, including a game-winning three pointer with 11 seconds left.
- Luke Fischer became a non-factor as Creighton made it a priority not to let him beat them. Fischer had his lowest scoring output as a Golden Eagle with two points, only attempting three shots in the game.
- Derrick Wilson, even as a senior, put together his greatest three-point shooting performance of his career. He hit as many threes in the game as he did in his first three years at Marquette combined, two. Wilson shot 2-of-3 from beyond the arc versus Creighton for a total of six points. It was not his best scoring performance, but the outside shooting helped make up for Fischer's ineffectiveness.
- Juan Anderson had one of his worst offensive performances this year. He scored just four points, his second fewest this season and had five turnovers, which tied for a season high. But his offensive deficiencies did not prevent him from making his presence felt on the glass. Anderson led all players with nine rebounds.
The Golden Eagles have the unenviable task of going to the Cintas Center this Saturday. The Xavier Musketeers are unbeaten at home this year, and where they are averaging 81.44 points per game. This will likely serve as Marquette's biggest road test, Georgetown matchup aside, to date so we will see if the Golden Eagles have it in them to pull off a stunner of an upset.