The barrage started right away for the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday. Markus Howard made two threes to start the game, passing Steve Novak for most 3-point field goals in Marquette history. The Bears’ strategy was to be very physical with the Golden Eagles, which resulted in Marquette reaching the double bonus before the halfway mark of the first half. With Marquette hot and Central Arkansas in foul trouble, Marquette quickly became too much for Central Arkansas to handle. Marquette led at the half 57-24 with Howard outscoring Central Arkansas with 25 points on his own.
Marquette did not let up in the second half. Led by a hot shooting and dynamic passing Symir Torrence, Marquette would finish off Central Arkansas, 106-54.
Marquette pushed the ball. With speed, numerous ball handlers, lots of shooters and depth, this team is set up to push the ball. Today they pushed the ball often and did so effectively. Expect to see more tempo and expect the results to be good.
The ball movement was great. With 23 assists, Marquette had their second-highest assist total as a team this season (27 against Grambling). Everyone loves to see Howard dominate a game and win one-on-one match ups, but seeing how effective and efficient the offense is when the team shares the ball well, hopefully the emphasis on ball movement continues into conference play.
Symir Torrence looks ready to contribute more in conference play. Arguably the best passer on the team, Torrence is another confident ball handler who can push and handle the ball with composure. With five assists, Torrence showed a confident three point stroke, finishing 3-4 from behind the arc. Torrence’s role should increase and with his dynamic play-making, he should prove to have a valuable role off the bench.
With nonconference play complete, Marquette will open Big East play on Wednesday, January 1st, at Creighton. Creighton’s season has looked very similar to Marquette. With their two losses being to teams that are ranked, #11 Michigan and #15 SDSU, they have impressive wins against power conference teams, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Arizona State (Nebraska, too, but that is not that impressive). With both teams right outside the top 25 (as of December 29th), the winner of this match-up could very easily find themselves ranked.