Rushed Reactions, Maui Style: Butler 72, Marquette 71Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2012
Some quick thoughts from today’s Maui Invitational quarterfinal game between Marquette and Butler…
Three Key Takeaways.
- Rotnei Clarke Redeems Himself With a Buzzer-Beater for the Win. We were prepared to write about how much of a chucker Butler’s transfer senior can be with the basketball, but his off-balance, one-footed, double-covered leaner from well beyond the three-point arc as time expired won the game for his team. Those are the kinds of shots chuckers make simply because they’re so comfortable shooting the ball… from anywhere. Clarke finished with seven makes versus 14 misses on the afternoon for a 20-point outing, but his last trio of points were the difference for the Bulldogs, and the reason that they will advance to play in the semifinals tomorrow.
- Marquette’s Sustainability. In a game where it felt that Marquette was always just a play or two from putting away always-scrappy Butler, it was a missed free throw by Junior Coudagan followed by a prayer of a leaning three from Rotnei Clarke that let the game get away from the Golden Eagles. But take nothing away from Butler, as the Bulldogs hit 57% in the second half and committed zero turnovers in keeping the game close — Butler’s greatest deficit was twice at six points, but Marquette in both cases gave up an easy layup and was unable to sustain enough momentum to put the Bulldogs away.
- Khyle Marshall Breaking Out? His teammate Clarke will get all of the press for today’s win, but junior wing Khyle Marshall spent most of this afternoon looking like the best player on the floor. He found his spots all over the paint, going for 24/9 in an efficient 11-15 shooting performance. In the past Marshall has struggled with inconsistency (case in point: his seven-point game against Elon last week), but if Butler expects to ride Clarke’s shooting back to the NCAA Tournament, they will absolutely need Marshall’s abilities on the wing to come to fruition.
Star of the Game. Rotnei Clarke, Butler. Clarke’s 20/6 line on 7-of-21 shooting was not something to write home about, but um, this shot certainly was…
- “Do you want to pay your credit card off with a higher APR or your house?” — Marquette head coach Buzz Williams, referring to picking your poison with how well Butler was playing his team in the second half (high shooting percentage and no turnovers).
- “I’ve been working on that one.” — Butler head coach Brad Stevens, referring to the final play where Rotnei Clarke dribbled upcourt and hit an off-balance game-winner from 30 feet.
Sights and Sounds. Goodness, Buzz Williams’ island wear needs to a reconsideration, we’re afraid.
What’s Next. Butler will move into the Maui semifinals where it will more than likely face off against North Carolina. Marquette is probably looking at a very winnable (but bad RPI opponent) game against Mississippi State.