Much as tonight was a night of firsts for St. John's, it was also a night of first for the Golden Eagles of Marquette as much of the news this off season was on their vaunted recruiting class which included Rice Lake power forward Henry Ellenson.
Tonight was the first game in Ellenson's career, as well as the others that make up Marquette's class from this offseason as they faced off against mid-major power Belmont of the Ohio Valley Conference. For Marquette, this matchup heading was an ideal first test as the Bruins have a history of playing teams tough, and tough the Golden Eagles would get against the Bruins in a game that would go back and forth right down to the very end as Belmont would walk away with the victory in the dying minutes of the second half by a final score of 83-80.
Despite the loss, the high mark for MU was a well rounded team put on display, led by Ellenson. Henry showed off his talent and his potential going forward as well, leading all Marquette players with a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds.
He also recorded four personal fouls as well, which is something he'll have to work on going forward.
Along with Ellenson's production, MU also got a double-double performance out of Luke Fischer as well who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. In terms of rebounds, Ellenson and Fischer made up the near majority of Marquette's rebounds.
Other notable contributors to the cause were Duane Wilson who had 13 points, JaJuan Johnson with 10, and Sandy Cohen III with 11.
As a team, Marquette was able to shoot 43.1 percent from all areas of the floor, 23.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line, and 66.7 percent from the foul line. In another game, these percentages and the production output by the players on the team would be impressive. It was just that Belmont was able to match what Marquette put on the floor.
Belmont's performance as a team was 45.5 percent from all areas on the floor, 35.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line, and 64.7 percent at the free throw line. Much like Marquette, Belmont's performance was anchored to the stellar play of Evan Bradds who was one rebound shy of a double-double, but finished the game with 24 points and nine rebounds. Bradds' production was followed up the play of Craig Bradshaw who had 18 points, Nick Smith with 14, and Kevin McClain with 10 of his own.
Belmont's success was also attributed to 24 points off the bench, compared to Marquette's 18, as well as 17 second chance points to Marquette's 14.
Marquette played a great game. That can't be denied.
It's just that Belmont played slightly better.
Which may sound cliched, but going forward despite this loss Marquette looks like they'll be a team that has the ability to give anyone a tough run.
NEXT GAME: The Golden Eagles (0-1) take on the IUPU Jaguars Wednesday night.