How hard is it to defeat a team three times in the same season? Just ask the St. John’s Red Storm. After advancing on the first night of the Big East Tournament, they lost 86-54 to the Marquette Golden Eagles led by Big East Player of the Year Markus Howard.
He gave us step-back shots, shots off the dribble and driving contested shots. Howard was completely in his package for the evening. He finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds, and four assists while showing absolutely no conscience in the second half.
Markus Howard with the SMOOTH drive and finish! #BEtourney pic.twitter.com/jvnAjx3nKK
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) March 15, 2019
What we saw Thursday night was a hungry player that would not be denied. While he terrorized the Red Storm from all levels, his team followed through shooting 51 percent from the field, including 48 percent from three-point range.
After a disappointing 2017-18 season in which the Golden Eagles missed the big dance, Howard is looking to change that this time around. In a tournament that typically sees teams go as far as their best players carry them, Howard has the ability to go off any night. With continued contributions from Sacar Anim (13 points, three rebounds and two assists) and Sam Hauser (10 points nine rebounds and four assists), Marquette could surprise some teams. Howard gave just the answer you’d want from your leader when asked about putting the team on his back:
“No. My team actually kind of helped me through things. They really started and got us off to a great run.”
Connecting consistently from three gave a glimpse on what could be advantageous for the Golden Eagles during tournament play. With Howard at the helm, this team will look to him to set the tone every game, and they will follow.