Every time that someone would pose a question in regards to the inexperience and lack of proven scoring on his roster, he would mention how transfer Matt Carlino would be able to carry the load. With sophomore Deonte Burton’s 6.9 points per game being the most out of any returning player, Wojo stressed that Carlino would be that go-to scorer that the team could rely on all season. Through the first four games of the season, that was far from the truth.
Against the woeful NJIT, which gave every single Golden Eagle fits, Carlino shot 0-for-5 from the floor. People began to compare him to the last over-praised transfer that was labeled as a pure scorer, Jake Thomas.
With often berated senior Juan Anderson as the only consistent scorer through the first four contests of the season, Marquette was desperate to find another scoring outlet as they entered into their toughest stretch of games this season. In Orlando on Thursday, they may have found that guy.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. They will most likely finish with Buzz Williams and the Virginia Tech Hokies at the bottom of a top heavy ACC. Without any highly-touted recruits or returning players expected to do much, the Yellow Jackets were a team that any Marquette team from 2010-2013 would dominate with ease. This year’s team, well that is a different story.
Everybody witnessed this past week that Marquette could possibly lose to any opponent on their schedule, regardless of what conference they hail from or how many years they have been a Division 1 program. It has become apparent that for this not to happen, Carlino has to show that sweet stroke that BYU came to love for years.
The most famous three-point machine in Brigham Young University history was Jimmer Fredette. Carlino looked eerily similar to his former teammate on Thanksgiving. Shooting from what know has been christened as “Jimmer Range”, Carlino sank threes from far behind the NBA arc.
Swoosh after swoosh propelled the otherwise flat Marquette team to victory, despite sloppy play on both ends of the court. Carlino’s 38 points were a career high, Orlando Classic high, and the most eye-opening display of shooting ability Golden Eagles fans have seen since good ole Steve Novak was calling Marquette’s campus home.
While at times Carlino’s shot selection was head-scratching, such as the several contested jumpers early on in the shot clock that he took, his overall performance allowed him to commandeer praise from many. Analysts from across the land commended the grizzly veteran for his ability to take over the game. His 14-16 from the charity stripe should also not be overlooked especially factoring into account the Golden Eagles struggles from the line this season.
In sports though, everybody has a short-term memory. Just as quickly as people forgot the lackluster performances over the course of the last seven days, Carlino’s performance will be ancient history if he cannot build off of it. Especially with Marquette battling a lethal Michigan State Spartans team, Carlino’s hot streak must continue for the Golden Eagles to have any chance of pulling off the upset.