Marquette dominated Creighton all day, going wire-to-wire in a shellacking of the Bluejays while completing the season sweep. With the win, Marquette will be the 4-seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. Creighton will be the 6-seed.
Jajuan Johnson, the senior from Memphis, had an absolutely fantastic day for his final affair in Milwaukee. In the first half alone, Johnson poured in 18 points on 6-9 shooting (nice), four of those coming from beyond the arc. From the get-go, he was electric and unstoppable, grabbing two steals while dropping two dimes.
Though Johnson remained quiet in the second half, Markus Howard - the now 18 year old - lit it up from the field, going a perfect 5-5 while dishing out three assists, ending the game with 18 points and 9 assists. Facilitating the offense by slicing through the weak membrane that was the Bluejay zone defense, the young kid ate all day long in an absolutely stunning performance.
If Markus Howard is to stay all four years at Marquette, he’ll likely emerge as one of the greatest scorers the conference has ever seen, and that’s not hyperbole. If he stays healthy and keeps up the unyielding mix of scoring and speed he’ll end up on the proverbial Mount Rushmore of modern BIG EAST basketball.
Luke Fischer was fantastic, going 6-8 from the field in his final game in Milwaukee, while shutting down Justin Patton and offering the Golden Eagles a great option in the paint. It was a marvel to see how well Fischer has progressed in his career, and to end his regular season tenure in an impressive fashion was a huge payoff. Hat tip to you, Luke.
As I’d previously mentioned, it appeared that Creighton’s already pillowy defense was broken in some more, with Marquette adding another notch to the bed post under the etched “Creighton Obliterations.” Time after time the Jays would get lost on a switch, leaving a man wide open at the three point line and letting Marquette get hotter and hotter as the game wore on.
The overall lack of urgency from the Jays, with the addition of letting Isaiah Zierden get torched by Howard and play point guard, led to this monumental let down. They were subdued and dismantled by a breakneck offense while their leading scorer - Marcus Foster - had one of the coldest shooting performances in recent memory.
Following this same thread, potential lottery-pick Justin Patton had some highlight reel dunks, but looks heavily fatigued and was ineffective in the post offensively and was unable to abate Luke Fischer on the defensive end. His legs look to have a worrying wobble as he attempts to finish his first season of D-1 basketball, which could be a boon for the Jays if McDermott talks him into competing at the D-1 level for another year.
There were two players for Creighton that deserve a positive nod: Khyri Thomas and Ronnie Harrell Jr. Though the rest of the Jays looked complacent in their role as a 5+ seed in the conference tournament, these two hustled and fought for the entirety of the game. I’ve been a big advocate of Harrell’s and the past two games play a big role in the justification of these views. Thomas doesn’t need any introduction as he works his way into the top of the ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ tier, yet it was his offense that kept the Jays in this game throughout, scoring 23 points and being a nuisance on both ends of the floor.