Marquette guard Markus Howard is having himself one helluva season, and he reached a new standard in Wednesday’s win over Creighton. Howard scored 53 points, 14 of which came in overtime, for his second 50-point-plus game of the campaign.
Some perspective on Howard’s accomplishment: Prior to former Central Michigan guard Marcus Keane scoring 50 two years ago, no player hit the Half-Chamberlain since 2013. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Howard’s the only Div. I player to reach 50 twice in a season in 20 seasons, and has hit 45 points three times.
Markus Howard dropped 53 points on Creighton in Marquette's OT win, the most ever in a Big East Conference game.
Howard is the only D-I player with multiple 50-point games over the last 20 seasons. pic.twitter.com/FzcdTLIXkT
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 10, 2019
Howard’s prolific scoring touch — manifested in a 24-point per game average and the byproduct of a 41.3 percent 3-point average — reminds The Open Man of a certain volume-scoring guard who played his college ball just a few miles from Howard’s Gilbert, Arizona home.
No, it’s not NBA scoring leader James Harden. This former Sun Devil was an even more dangerous scorer than Harden in his time in Tempe. Markus Howard’s multifaceted scoring ability brings to mind visions of Eddie House during his run at Arizona State.
House’s Arizona State career flies under the radar somewhat, the unfortunate result of the Sun Devils not making the NCAA Tournament in his time there. Markus Howard won’t have that issue this season with Marquette, assuming the Golden Eagles continue on their current trajectory.
But ASU not making the field of 64 in 2000 — it was still just 64 then — makes Eddie House winning Pac-10 Player of the Year all the more remarkable. He beat out noteworthy names Jason Gardner, Casey Jacobsen and Mark Madsen for top billing, all three of whom led teams to No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
House averaged 23 points per game in 1999-00, but his outpourings above the average defined his remarkable senior year.
Eddie House hit 40 points or more four times, including an even 40 against a good UCLA team and 46 vs. San Diego State. However, it was 19 years ago this very week House produced what remains the most remarkable individual game I have ever seen from a Pac-12 basketball player; a game comparable to Markus Howard’s eruption at Creighton.
House dropped 61 points in a 111-108, double-overtime win at Cal. He took over in the second extra frame in a manner like Howard, ripping off six of Arizona State’s 10 points over a decisive, 10-0 run.
“You wait for a kid like that to fatigue or to start missing some shots, but he did neither,” Cal coach Ben Braun said after the game, per the Associated Press.
And, by night’s end, House tied a conference record he still shares today with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The parallels between House and Howard don’t end at their lofty point totals. Questions about House’s NBA viability preceded his departure from Arizona State. Although Allen Iverson was poised to win Most Valuable Player the next season, the role of a (listed) 6-foot-1, volume-scoring combo guard was limited in the pro game.
House carved out a niche and spent a decade in the NBA, however.
Had he played in this generation, his quick release and ability to shoot 3-pointers off the dribble might have made him a hot commodity. I am curious to see the NBA’s interest in Markus Howard, to that same end.
Howard stands just 5-foot-11, but he can fire over much larger defenders with his pure shooting stroke and hair-trigger release. Deadspin put together a compilation of his scoring touch just this week.