Buzz Williams has been the head coach of Marquette for three Senior Days. Two of those were overtime losses, and last year's was a loss to Cincinnati by seven points.
To say this year's team is out to change that pattern, and finally win on Senior Day, is an understatement.
Jae Crowder noted the losses to Notre Dame and Cincinnati. He sounded like winning on Saturday against Georgetown meant more to his coaches than he and fellow senior Darius Johnson-Odom.
"My coaching staff hasn't won a Senior Day since they've been employed here," Crowder said. "We all are aware of it, so with us getting a win tomorrow, that will put a stamp on this season in the regular season going into the postseason."
"I definitely feel very emotional about it," Johnson-Odom said. "Not that it's me and Jae's last home game, but that we haven't won on senior night since I've been here."
Williams noted these two seniors are two of the most unlikely, both coming from junior colleges, with unique stories on how they arrived in Milwaukee.
"Their paths here are a story in and of itself," Williams said, "and what they've been able to do here is a story in and of itself. I'm very thankful for the relationship I have with them."
Marquette's opponents, the Georgetown Hoyas, upended the Golden Eagles in their first meeting this year, coming back from a 17-point second half deficit to win 73-70 back in January, in the nation's capital.
"We had the game," Crowder said. "We had a good game plan going into that game. We executed the game plan well in the first half and for the most part in the second half as well, but we let it get away from us."
As usual, Williams was on top of his stats, and point out a couple on why the Hoyas are one of the best teams in the conference.
"I think they're real good," Williams said. "Field goal percentage wise within league play, they're third offensively. First in field goal percentage defense."
This year's Hoyas has three players that average double-figures in Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, and Henry Sims.
The senior guard, Clark, leads the team with 14.5 points, and is shooting 48.8 percent from the field, which is quite impressive for a point guard. He's making 33.9 percent of his three-pointers this year, and also averages 4.2 assists.
The Hoyas starting post duo is senior Henry Sims and junior Hollis Thompson. They both average 5.5 rebounds, but Thompson averages 12.8 points, and also presents more of an all-around threat on the court, as Marquette fans may know, as his last-minute three-pointer gave Georgetown the 73-70 lead in their first meeting. Sims averages 11.3 points, and at six-feet-10-inches is actually the team's leading assist man with 3.5.
Off the bench, freshman Otto Porter has been very impressive for the Hoyas. Their leading rebounder, Porter grabs 6.8 boards per game, while scoring 8.7 points. He has been an impressive, physical player for the Hoyas, and one that will impress in the Big East for the rest of his time at Georgetown.
Fellow 6'8" freshman, Greg Whittington, helped spark Georgetown's comeback against Marquette in their first meeting, and has stepped up at times this year, including scoring 15 points in the Hoyas' last game, a 59-41 win against Notre Dame. He averages only 4.1 points and 2.7 assists.
Sophomore Markel Starks has not produced the numbers he was expected to as a Hoya, but has shown glimpses of greatness. He's averaging 7.7 points per game, and has seen increased minutes as the season has progressed, averaging 24.7 for the season.
Trebby's Keys to the game:
1—Be ready for a lot of zone: Marquette better expect a lot of zone from the Hoyas on Saturday afternoon, which is something they did a bit of in their first meeting in January. After seeing what Cincinnati did to the Golden Eagles with the 2-3 zone, Georgetown will definitely use it often throughout the game.
2—Help DJO and Crowder: In the past few games, nobody has stepped up and helped the two seniors score for Marquette. Jamil Wilson's numbers have gone down just a bit, so somebody (whether it be him, Vander Blue, or anybody else) needs to step up and contribute on the offensive end.
3—Start out strong: Marquette needs to use what will be a raucous atmosphere on Saturday, and get out to an early lead. This will be only the second time this year the Bradley Center will have an electric atmosphere, and the Golden Eagles beat Cincinnati 95-78 with the first one. Hopefully there will be a similar outcome on Saturday afternoon.
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