Player Grades: Marquette vs. Wisconsin

Marquette topped Wisconsin  60-50 Saturday night to win its second consecutive in-state rivalry game and move to 6-2 on the season. It was quite a different performance for a team just 10 days after a beatdown in Gainesville, and the player grades reflect it:

Juan Anderson (0 pts, 4 reb, 4 fls, 1 blk, 1 stl) Juan only played 15 minutes and didn’t impact the game offensively very much in that time, missing the only shot he took, but his block on Sam Dekker with 3:07 to go in the game kept the lead at 6 at a crucial juncture. That block alone was worth a letter grade, as Juan moved his personal record to 2-0 against the Badgers. B

Chris Otule (0 pts, 3 reb, 1 blk, 3 fouls) Chris only played 14 minutes, and failed to score in his second straight game, but he keeps on winning opening tips, making him a near lock to start every game. His defense on Berggren in the first half  (9 min) kept the Badgers big man off the scoresheet, but ultimately, Gardner’s offense was needed more than Otule’s defense. If Buzz can get solid defense and a handful of rebounds from Otule every night, he will be a very happy man. C

Junior Cadougan (18 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb, 1 to, 26 min) I turned to Mark near the end of the first half and said Junior better watch out, or Derrick Wilson is going to take his spot. Derrick and Junior split the point duties in the half, with each playing 10 minutes. Then the second half happened. In case you missed it, Junior took a team that hadn’t scored in five minutes and let a 13-point lead be cut to three and mounted it on its back, scoring seven straight points and 13 of Marquette’s final 17. He hit teardrops, floaters, bankers, pull-ups and even caught a touchdown from Vander. This was his best game as a Golden Eagle and it’s not even close.  A+

Vander Blue (17 pts, 5 reb, 4 stl, 2 ast, 0 to) Vander was every good in the first half as Cadougan was in the second. The man simply could do no wrong. He hit two buzzer-beating threes and finished thrice at the basket with his left hand. Vander cooled off in the second, scoring only 2 points on 1-6 shooting, but his defense was stifling throughout, making up for any offensive deficiencies e might have shown. That pass he threw to Cadougan also took some cojones, but he put it right on the money. A

Trent Lockett (5 pts, 4 reb, 4 fls, 7 tos) Let’s get this out of the way early. Any player that commits 7 TOs in one game deserves an F, plain and simple. I cringe every time he drives to the hole, knowing it will either be a charge or a travel. Yet, Buzz played the ASU transfer 34 minutes because he’s too valuable on the defensive end (and Jamil Wilson was in foul trouble). He hit two clutch freebies to ice it and make up, if only a bit, for his giveaways and save him from the dreaded F. D

Jamil Wilson (8 pts, 3 reb, 1 stl, 4 fls) Jamil didn’t play poorly by any stretch of the imagination, he just simply didn’t play enough due to his foul trouble. On of the fouls was questionable, as it looked like Gardner was to blame, but that’s no excuse. Jae Crowder had to go through the same growing pains his junior year, and Jamil could do worse than learning from him. He was 4-6 from the floor and really helped stretch he floor, he just needs to play a bit more. B-

Derrick Wilson (2 pts, 3 ast, 2 stl, 0 to) Buzz is known to be brutally honest with his players (calling Gardner out of shape and Lockett terrible just today) so when he mentions that Derrick is playing well enough to start, he means it. Derrick played 10 mins in the first half and was a pest collecting 2 steals and forcing another. But we all knew his defense was top notch. It’s his offensive game that had Junior sweating. Derrick has shown the ability to drive and finish at the hole, and makes great passes in the half-court set. A

Jake Thomas (0 pts, 1 reb, 11 min, 0-2 from 3) When Thomas’ shot isn’t falling, he’s not going to see much playing time. He’s a great, not good, rebounder, but simply doesn’t have the quickness to guard many players at this level. He was responsible for five of Brust’s eight points in the game, as he could not catch up coming off a pick and was limited to three minutes in the second alf. It’s unfair to grade him harshly, as he is a walk-on playing decent minutes, but this team will benefit greatly, simply from a defensive standpoint if Todd Mayo can get eligible. D

Steve Taylor Jr. (0 pts, 2 reb, 3 min, 0-1 FT) Steve only saw three minutes, yet managed to grab two boards and get to the stripe, where he absolutely bricked a free throw. He’s definitely a freshman with a learning curve, but his talent oozes out of his shoes. C

Davante Gardner (10 pts, 8 reb, 3 blk, 26 min) When Ox decided to take it coast to coast off a steal, you could see Buzz grimacing the entire way as the young man rumbled. When Gardner shot and missed his second three of the season, Buzz was quick to pull the trigger and take him out. Yet, despite, Gardner’s cringe-inducing plays, he had a fantastic game. He only scored 10 points, but was able to grab eight rebounds, with a full seven coming on the defensive end. He also added three blocks, bringing his season total to three, though he did miss to free-throws, a rarity for the big fella. Gardner is a special player, there is no doubt about that. B+

Jamal Ferguson (DNP) No grade for Jamal, who is biding his time on the bench.

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