Two games down, many questions left

Two games into the men’s basketball season, and questions still linger. Can Jimmy Butler and Lazar Hayward stay out of foul trouble? Has coach Buzz Williams found a starting lineup? Will this team live or die by the 3-pointer?

Lazar Hayward (32) scored a career high 28 points against Maryland Eastern Shore and led MU to a 2-0 start.
Lazar Hayward (32) scored a career high 28 points against Maryland Eastern Shore and led MU to a 2-0 start.

In the Golden Eagles’ 86-60 defeat of Maryland Eastern Shore Tuesday night, it took until the second half for the team to start finding some answers.

Hayward scored Marquette’s first six points just over two minutes into the first half, but picked up two fouls and finished with only 10 points in the half. Butler, who was coming off a career-high 27-point performance, also picked up two first half fouls and was held to just four points in the first frame.

“I thought that we were better in the second half than we were in the first half,” Williams said. “Lazar and Jimmy being in foul trouble definitely impacts our team and we’ve got to figure out a way to stop it.”

In the second half, the duo picked up a combined one foul, and both played 18 out of the 20 minutes. Unlike the first half, they found a way to be effective defensively without fouling, which helped the Golden Eagles run away with the game.

“I thought that our execution in the second half was much better,” Williams said. “It’s so important with our team that we get better each game.”

Hayward scored 18 second half points en route to a career-high 28 and Butler drained three 3-pointers as the battle for leading scorer continued.

“I didn’t know, I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff,” Hayward said about achieving his career scoring high.

Aside from Butler and Hayward, Williams is still looking for the right mix of players.

In the second half, he kept a lineup of Maurice Acker, David Cubillan, Jeronne Maymon, Butler and Hayward on the floor for over nine straight minutes and was pleased with the unit’s effort and contribution.

“I thought that they were executing what we wanted to do on both ends of the floor. … I was going to let those guys play until their tongues fell out because they were doing a good job,” Williams said. “I thought that they began to have a little rhythm in what they were doing. I don’t know how many games we can win playing those guys that long of a period of time, but I thought for tonight it was the right thing to do.”

One aspect of Marquette’s game that could plague the team as the season progresses is the 3-point shot. In the first half against Maryland Eastern Shore, 16 of Marquette’s 29 shots were 3-pointers, and it converted on just six of them. In the second half, the Golden Eagles took 10 3-pointers and shot 55.9 percent from the field.

Sophomore center Chris Otule said in order to be more effective offensively, the team needs to get into the lane and make good decisions.

“Whenever we get a paint touch it’s pretty much a guaranteed basket,” Otule said. “Whenever the guards drive it in the paint and get a paint touch or whenever it’s thrown in there I think it’s pretty much a guaranteed basket.”

With all of the players still learning their roles, however, it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for all questions to be answered.