Marquette 76, UTEP 69: Three Takeaways from UTEP’s Close Loss
Despite a spirited comeback effort by the Miners, which included coming back from 13-2, 12-0 runs, Marquette (7-2) was able to hold on in the final minutes and closed out UTEP 76-69 in Milwaukee, Wisc. Tuesday night.
There were tons of bright spots for the Miners, who fought through a tough shooting outing: 42.4 percent from the floor, 30 percent from downtown and 68 percent from the charity stripe.
“Marquette is a very good team and a very-well coached team. We knew coming in that we had to compete for 40 minutes. We always tell our guys, whether we get off to a good start, bad start, we got to work the game and settle in, guard some guys and get some stops. Then we can come out and execute on offense,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We really try to establish an inside presence if we can and work the game.”
“Once we settled down a little bit and got into our game, tried to get lost playing hard on defense and get some stops, then we got a chance to get back into the game,” Terry said.
Here are three takeaways from last night's game:
Jordan Lathon is catching his stride
Coming off his recent C-USA honor, freshman guard Jordan Lathon exploded on the court against Marquette. He scored his young career-best on Tuesday night, finishing with 26 points, six assists, three rebounds, two steals and had just one turnover on the night.
With his family in attendance from his hometown in Grandview, Mo., Lathon entered the game coming off an eight point game versus NMSU and a 16 point finish against NW State on Saturday, which led to his C-USA recognition.
But what he did on Tuesday night was nothing short of brilliant.
Lathon made 8-of-11 shots from the floor and knocked down 3-of-4 3-pointers against the Golden Eagles. He held Marquette's best player in Markus Howard, who is coming off a Big East Player of the Week honoree to 14 points on the court, 21 overall. Howard entered the game averaging 22.6 points per game and squeaked out seven extra points at the charity stripe.
In all, Lathon might be contesting his second straight C-USA Freshman award after his performance against the Golden Eagles.
This is [Lathon’s] third game in a row that he played a very complete game,” Terry said. “He played with great confidence tonight and I call it ‘swag’ a lot of times. He carried himself with very good swag to compete at this level.”
Miners continue to eliminate turnovers
One of the biggest problems for this team has been their turnovers in critical games. They had 22 turnovers just a week ago against a tough NMSU squad and totaled a -6 turnover margin just last week.
But over the past two games, the Miners have been relatively poise with the ball. They finished with a +7 turnover margin against NW State and last night, they finished with a +1 turnover margin over Marquette.
To start the game, the Miners fell into turnover problems early on. Marquette forced seven early turnovers and it looked grim for the Miners.
But with defensive efforts from Lathon and freshmen Nigel Hawkins and Efe Odigie, who each had a pair of steals, UTEP fought back defensively and held onto the ball on offense. Sophomore guard Evan Gilyard had five turnovers on the night for UTEP.
Efe Odigie can play with anyone
There were multiple instances last night where freshman forward Efe Odigie was double teamed down low in the paint, yet he was still able to body defenders and make some muscle baskets. He even showed what he can do from mid-range, pulling up and making some nice shots.
Bottom line, Odigie is a threat for the Miners, and like the broadcast from FS1 suggested last night, I'm not sure he even knows how powerful he is.
Odigie finished the game with his third career double-double, totaling 17 points, 10 boards, two steals and just a turnover. He helped the Miners with their 28 points in the paint and subbed in and out with freshman forward Kaosi Ezeagu, who was also in foul trouble throughout the game.
Toward the end of the game, Odigie carried most of the forward load after senior Paul Thomas finished with five fouls in 15 minutes of play, which included just three points. It was a relentless effort by the freshman.
Next up for the Miners, the team will have a week off for finals and then they will host UC Riverside on Sunday, Dec. 16 in the Don Haskins Center with a 1 p.m. tip-off.