Big Second Half Propels MU past St. John’s 83-64

Looking at the final score, it was difficult to imagine that Marquette (13-4, 2-2 Big East) trailed at halftime, or any other point in an 83-64 win over St. John’s (8-8, 2-3 Big East) Wednesday night.

The was the case, however, as Marquette found itself down 32-31 at halftime, while playing without senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom and senior forward Jae Crowder for longer than it would have liked due to foul trouble.

“We have to figure out how we can play 40 minutes, and a lot of that is on me and a lot of that is on the team,” coach Buzz Williams said. “I don’t say anything different at halftime that I say before the game, and we don’t practice any different in the first half of practice than we do in the second half.”

But the Golden Eagles outscored the Red Storm 52-32 in the second half and rolled to an easy win, snapping a two-game losing streak in the process on “Al McGuire Night.”

McGuire’s credentials as a Marquette coach are well-documented, but few may know that McGuire played for St. John’s from 1948-’51, and averaged 8.5 points per game over his career.

Sophomore forward Davante Gardner finished with a career-high 22 points and 15 rebounds in 34 minutes, while Johnson-Odom scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half.

“Playing 34 minutes felt great, I felt like I had a lot of energy and kept bringing it for the team to win,” Gardner said.

Gardner scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half before turning the reins over to Johnson-Odom in the second half.

“It was a great second half from all aspects of the floor,” Johnson-Odom said. “Davante (Gardner), he was amazing tonight; 15 rebounds tonight, a lot of people don’t think he can even get off the floor.”

Including Crowder’s 15 points, the combination of Gardner, Johnson-Odom and Crowder scored 57 of the team’s 83 points, and combined to shoot 22-of-34 (64.7 percent).

Marquette shot 67.7 percent from the field in the second half, after shooting just 42.9 percent in the first half. For the game, the Golden Eagles shot 55.9 percent.

Junior forward God’sgift Achiuwa scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and took down seven rebounds to lead St. John’s, who entered the contest off an impressive 57-55 win at Cincinnati on Saturday.

Marquette needed a win after near-misses in its previous two games, blowing a 17-point lead in the second half of a 73-70 loss at Georgetown last Wednesday, and a 73-66 loss at Syracuse that saw the Golden Eagles pull within two points late in the second half.

In Marquette’s loss to Syracuse on Saturday, the Golden Eagles struggled to a 40.4 percent showing from the floor, and made just 6-of-26 threes they attempted.

“If we can solve that (putting two halves together), then we probably solve our biggest issue as of right now,” Williams said. “I thought our guys were outstanding in the second half on all of the things you guys hear me talk about and I thought we were very poor on all of the things that you guys hear me talk about in the first half.”

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Categories: Game Recaps

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