Junior Cadougan came into this season with a lot of pressure on his back. Even though last season’s team had two All-Big East players, it was Cadougan who was key to the team’s success.
Marquette went as their starting point guard did. Cadougan’s statistics in wins were significantly better than in losses. Even with Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, the Golden Eagles could not overcome a poor performance by Cadougan.
In losses last season, Cadougan shot 31.5 percent from the field, and had 3.5 assists to 3.4 turnovers. In Marquette victories, he dished out 5.7 assists, had only 2.3 turnovers, and was 41.5 percent from the field. When he played poorly, the Golden Eagles unfortunately followed suit.
As his senior season started, much was expected of Cadougan. On a team that clearly needed scoring and leadership, it was thought he could provide a little bit of both. A little more consistency
So how’d it go?
Stats: 8.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 2.5 turnovers, 43.1% FG, 22.6% on three-point shots.
It may have been a new season, and Cadougan may have been a year older, but for the most part, he had a very similar season compared to his junior campaign. The statistics show a similar pattern to his junior year: when he didn’t play well, Marquette’s chances of winning decreased in a big way.
When he did play well, though, Cadougan displayed some of the most clutch play the BMO Harris Bradley Center has seen in recent years. At the start of Big East play, the senior became Marquette’s go-to-guy in the second half of games.
Two games stood out when trying to pick Cadougan’s best game of the season. His miraculous shot against Connecticut to force overtime is the first play that comes to mind. Against the Huskies, Cadougan had 18 points and five assists, and his three-pointer was one of Marquette’s plays of the season.
But it was in the non-conference season where Cadougan established himself as a clutch performer.
After failing to play in a game that Marquette was able to beat Wisconsin, he had 13 points in the final 10 minutes of the game to lead the Golden Eagles to victory. Cadougan had three different three-point plays during that stretch, and would not allow his collegiate career to end winless against the rival Badgers.
In the final game of his collegiate career, Marquette’s reliance on Cadougan was unfortunately on full display.
Syracuse’s zone was puzzling the Golden Eagles, and their point guard couldn’t solve it. In 30 minutes, he scored just six points on 1 of 8 shooting. He had two rebounds and two assists, along with three turnovers and some errant passes that led to more possession for the Orange.
Marquette had beaten Jim Boeheim’s team already this season, but they couldn’t come close to doing the same again in the Elite Eight. At times in the first half, Cadougan couldn’t get the familiar looks in the paint, if he even got there to begin with.
Cadougan is not going to be remembered as the best point guard in Marquette history. Whether he is the best in the past 10 years might be up for debate.
When the Toronto native’s name comes up in years to come, fans will have mixed emotions. He led the Golden Eagles to some of the most exciting and exhilarating wins in recent memory – which is saying something for Marquette – but also was the mastermind behind some of the team’s worst performances.
The Golden Eagles’ reliance on their Cadougan is what he will be remembered for. While he could be seen as a liability at times, there were also many moments where Cadougan was the best player on the court.