first_img March Madness 2019: Zion Williamson and 5 other stars to watch in the NCAA Tournament Morant and three other Murray State players reached double figures, led by 19 from Tevin Brown. Freshman forward KJ Williams chipped in 16.Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s marquee matchup: Related News Morant is the real dealJa Morant dominated during his first game on college basketball’s biggest stage in 2018-19.Marquette had no answers for the 6-3 guard. He controlled the tempo and imposed his will as the Racers pulled away early in the second half.Morant showcased every aspect of his offensive skillset in the victory. He finished with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, 16 assists and 11 rebounds.It was the first triple-double recorded in the NCAA Tournament since 2012. Ja Morant with the triple-double. 👏👏👏— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 21, 2019Morant has been inconsistent from behind the 3-point line but he knocked down both of his shots from that distance against Marquette. He entered the game shooting 33.6 percent from deep in 2018-19.The sophomore is projected to be a top-5 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and he lived up to the hype Thursday.Tale of two halves for HowardHoward came out firing and carried Marquette offensively in the game’s opening moments as he scored 16 points before the break.How did Markus Howard finish this? 🤔#MarchMadness— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 21, 2019The junior, however, dealt with foul trouble over the last five minutes of the first period and never really found a rhythm after halftime, which allowed Murray State to build a big lead.In total, Howard finished with 26 points but he was inefficient as he shot just 9 of 27 from the field and 4 of 14 from 3-point range. He also failed to make an impact elsewhere. He recorded just two rebounds and two assists.  Howard was one of the most exciting players in the country this season, but he wasn’t at his best Thursday.Murray State has a chance to reach at least the second weekendMurray State is positioned to make a run.The Racers will face No. 4 Florida State, who held on for a victory against Vermont earlier in the day, in the Round of 32 on Saturday. They’re definitely capable of pulling off the upset and advancing to the Sweet 16. March Madness 2019: Barack Obama unveils his bracketcenter_img Murray State will have the best player on the floor in almost every game it plays, which can make all the difference in a single-elimination tournament.Florida State should not underestimate the Racers. The matchup between Ja Morant and Markus Howard turned into a blowout.Morant and Howard both impressed at different times during their game Thursday. But, in the end, Morant’s Murray State team cruised to an easy 83-64 win over Marquette and Howard in the Round of 64.last_img read more