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Hinkle Highlights MU’s Mental Toughness

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Two years and two weeks ago, Marquette rode 16 first half points from freshman Markus Howard to a 16-point halftime lead at No. 13 Butler. The lead would grow to 18 very early in the second half before the defense forgot how to stop the dribble drive and the lead vanished in just under 11 minutes. Butler won going away with it.

Wednesday night, Markus Howard’s 19 first half points helped propel Marquette to a 9-point halftime lead at Butler. Despite pushing the lead to 12, two quick 3rd fouls to Markus and Sam Hauser meant the bench was tasked with protecting that lead until it was safer to bring back the two stars.

Not only did they protect the lead, an unexpected Joseph Chartouny PUJIT 3 expanded the lead to 17. After another Butler miss on the other end, a nice seal and entry pass left Ed Morrow with an uncontested reverse layup to push the lead to 19. But he missed.

The next 3 possessions resulted in 3-point makes for the Bulldogs, and empty trips for Marquette. In just 2:13 of game time, a laugher had turned into a real challenge.

I kept thinking back to that 2017 team and how when Butler started on their 2nd half run, they just couldn’t stem the tide on either side of the court. That was a team loaded with offense, that would go on to beat No. 1 Villanova eight days later and finish the season as a top-10 offensive team. But when Hinkle got hectic, it wilted.

This is not that team.

Butler got it within 6 a few possessions later but Marquette answered an 11-0 run with the following possessions:

2 Markus FTs
John missed 1-and-1
3 by Anim
3 by Hauser
2 by Markus
2 by Markus

And just like that, the lead was back at 18, the Morrow missed bunny a long-forgotten thing part of the game.

And then a few minutes later, the final nail in the coffin.

This Butler team isn’t particularly good, nowhere near the 2017 team. This Marquette team is 3 times better than that 2017 defense. Those things matter.

But in the big picture, Marquette showed that this is not the same team as those from previous years. It has mental fortitude. It has toughness.

And it has something no other Marquette team has since 1990. A win at Hinkle.

 

 

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