Wednesday’s Three Things To Know: Markus Howard goes crazy, No. 15 Miami falls, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s time is here
Here’s how impressive Trae Young has been this season.
In a win over in-state rival Oklahoma State, Young had 27 points, 10 assists and nine boards ... and it wasn’t enough to make this list. Why are we mentioning players that finish a game below their season average in points AND assists?
Anyway, here are the three things to know from Wednesday:
1. MARQUETTE’S MARKUS HOWARD TIES THE BIG EAST RECORD FOR POINTS
In a game that the Golden Eagles badly needed to win to help build their NCAA tournament profile, Markus Howard put together arguably the best individual performance of the season. He scored 52 points. He shot 17-for-29 from the floor and 11-for-19 from three. But here’s the most impressive part: He had 10 points at halftime and was 2-for-6 from three in the first 20 minutes. He went for 32 points in the second half before scoring 10 points and hitting a pair of threes in the extra period.
That tied the Big East record for points in a game, set in 2011 by MarShon Brooks of Providence. It also set the record for points in a game by a Marquette player, more than Dwyane Wade or Jae Crowder or Jimmy Butler ever scored.
2. JOSH OKOGIE IS BACK AND GEORGIA TECH IS BEATING TEAMS LIKE NO. 15 MIAMI
Okogie returned from a suspension to start the season more than three weeks ago, but Wednesday night was the first night that he looked like a guy that can star in the ACC. He finished with 30 points as the Yellow Jackets picked up a win over No. 15 Miami in Atlanta, 64-54. The Hurricanes have been one of the nation’s best defensive teams to date this season, which makes Okogie’s performance all the more impressive, but the question is whether it is too little, too late for Josh Pastner’s club. They lost seven games already this season, including out of conference games against Grambling, Wright State and Wofford. But Okogie’s been present for three of those seven losses. There aren’t really any excuses for Pastner beyond his team just has not been good enough.
But they did get this win.
And at this point, it’s probably fair to wonder just how good Miami actually is. They’ve lost two of their last four games - to New Mexico State and Georgia Tech - and their only remotely good win came at Minnesota, who has fallen out of the top 25. As good as they are defensively, they really struggle to score at times, settling for far too many jump shots. Our Raphielle Johnson wrote all about Miami here.
3. WHEN CAN WE START TALKING ABOUT SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER AS KENTUCKY’S BEST PLAYER?
Because, on Wednesday night, Gilgeous-Alexander was Kentucky’s best player.
It was the third-straight game that he was Kentucky’s best player. After averaging 22.5 points, 5.o boards, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals in wins over Louisville and Georgia last week, Gilgeous-Alexander had 18 points and four assists off the bench for the No. 167 Wildcats as they knocked off a sneaky-good LSU team in Baton Rouge.
Gilgeous-Alexander has grown into Kentucky’s best option in the half-court offensively. He can play in pick-and-roll and he’s a good, not great, passer, but what makes him so unique is his length and the way he moves. He’s incredibly smooth, seemingly gliding past defenders more than exploding past them. His strides and his reach are so long that he can get his shoulders past a defender with ease. Throw in his ability defensively, and suddenly he’s an incredibly intriguing prospect with some serious NBA upside.
Maybe more so than anyone else on that roster.