Marquette will be looking to get back on track against St. Johns this Wednesday after losing four out of their last six games. At 12-4, the Golden Eagles find themselves ranked 24th in the country—their lowest ranking all season.
Marquette took a step backward last week, losing to both a Georgetown squad who was ranked ninth in the country, and Syracuse, the nation's number one team. If the Golden Eagles want to be considered one of the nation's elite teams, they will need to be able to show up for all 40 minutes and beat ranked opponents.
Against Georgetown, Marquette came out strong in the first half but blew a 17 point lead to lose by three. In Syracuse, Marquette's offense was anemic in the first half, scoring only 19 points. Their 47 second half points were enough to make the game close, but the Golden Eagles still fell short, losing by seven. Marquette will look to put it all together against the Red Storm in order to return to their winning ways.
With only seven scholarship players (including 5 freshman), St. John's is a very young and inexperienced team. However, led by six-foot-eight freshman swingman Moe Harkless, the Red Storm have accrued a winning record so far this season., Harkless has proven to be an integral piece of the Red Storm's success as he is averaging 15.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in 35 minutes.
The Red Storm have also seen significant contributions from their six-foot-three freshman guard, D'Angelo Harrison. Harrison's 16 points per game leads the team and his production has really ramped up since former starting point guard Nurideen Lindsey decided to transfer.
Though Harrison has proven to be a difference maker in his first season, the Golden Eagles have a playmaking freshman guard of their own: Todd Mayo. Though he only plays about 22 minutes per game, Mayo has quickly become the team's third leading scorer, averaging over 10 points per game in Marquette's last four contests.
Now that Chris Otule is officially out for the rest of the season, neither team has a player who measures six-foot-nine or above. Both teams will be forced to play a lot of small ball, meaning a very fast-paced, high-scoring, guard-driven contest.
Leading the Golden Eagles will obviously be the senior tandem of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. They have accounted for nearly half of the team's points this season and are Marquette's go-to guys in the clutch. If Marquette hopes to get back on track by making a statement against St. John's this Wednesday, Johnson-Odom and Crowder will both need to have big games.
In the last two seasons, Marquette is 2-1 in games against St. Johns. Two years ago, Marquette won twice by a combined margin of four points. The first of these matchups was decided by a miracle turnaround buzzer-beater jumper by Jimmy Butler to lift the Golden Eagles past the Red Storm in overtime. Last season, Marquette was trounced by 12 points at home. This year's edition will tipoff at the Bradley Center at 6:00 pm CST.
Preview: St. John's
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