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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Big men feast on Division III opponent

It’s one game.

Actually, it’s less than a game, since it won’t even go on the final win-loss record, so it is premature to draw too many assumptions. Yet, as is the case with all things Marquette men’s basketball, it has to be analyzed and reanalyzed.

Marquette beat Division III Saint John’s (Minn.) 86-56 on Saturday in the Golden Eagles’ only exhibition match of the season. They decided to forgo a second exhibition game and instead held a closed door, inter-squad scrimmage against Virginia last week.

The Golden Eagles’ two big men, junior forward Jae Crowder and sophomore center Chris Otule, made their presence felt down low, a place where Marquette rarely sees much offensive production.

“Boy, that would be great, wouldn’t it?” coach Buzz Williams said when asked if he would take that kind of impact from his post players every game.

It remains to be seen if Marquette’s post troubles are indeed gone, or if this was simply a case of dominating against the smaller, weaker opposition.

Crowder, last year’s junior college player of the year, led all scorers with 15 points and grabbed 10 boards to notch his first double-double in Golden Eagles garb. Otule was one rebound short of a double-double himself, scoring 12 points in 16 minutes to go along with his nine rebounds.

“I think Jae (Crowder) is really good, I’ve always thought that,” Williams said. “He understands and does not shy away from how we work, and the culture that we work in. That definitely helps his learning curve because he’s not in a state of shock. We’re going to need him to be good nightly.”

Crowder’s first appearance at the Bradley Center was more impressive than most would expect from a newcomer and has set the bar high for the rest of the season.

“(It’s) a great feeling just to get out and have fun in front of the home crowd, just get used to things,” Crowder said.

The game was especially sweet for Otule, having missed the majority of last season with an injury and taking a medical redshirt to retain another year of eligibility.

“It felt really good to get out there and run a little bit,” Otule said. “It felt good being out there playing with the guys after watching for two years.”

On the opposite end of the height spectrum, the other big takeaway from Saturday’s match was seeing senior guard Dwight Buycks start the game at the point guard position — ahead of sophomore Junior Cadougan and freshman Reggie Smith — after seeing him mostly at the shooting guard spot last season.

“Buycks has been really good, not specific to a position, just as a player,” Williams said. “Obviously, he’s ahead of Junior (Cadougan) and Reggie (Smith) relative to all that we do. You get what you earn, and he’s earned it.”

The Milwaukee native responded with eight points and six assists in a team-high 28 minutes.

Surprising even his own coach, Smith dished out seven assists in 14 minutes, adding eight points and zero turnovers on 3-of-4 shooting.

“Reggie played a lot better today than I anticipated him playing,” Williams said. “Not that I anticipated him being bad, but it was the first time he had played in front of lights, and I thought he did good.”

If Marquette can get that kind of consistency from its freshman point guard the rest of the year — and that is definitely a big “if” — Williams will have a hard time keeping him off the court.

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