Get used to two, MU

Photo by Dylan Huebner / dylan.huebner@marquette.edu

In its first two games of the regular season, fans used to seeing Marquette drill three-pointers with ease were disappointed. The Golden Eagles shot 34.7 percent (8-of-23) from beyond the arc in their two victories this weekend.

Last season Marquette had the sixth-best three-point field goal percentage in the country and the best in the Big East at 40.6 percent.  Coach Buzz Williams said fans shouldn’t expect a similar showing this season.

“We’re not going to be first in three-point field goal percentage,” Williams said.  “Junior (Cadougan) and Reggie (Smith) can’t shoot it like (Maurice Acker). Vander (Blue) and Dwight (Buycks) can’t shoot it like (David Cubillian).  Jae (Crowder) can’t shoot it like (Lazar Hayward).  So we’re not going to shoot the ball as well.”

Hayward shot it at a 34 percent clip, Acker at 49.5 percent and Cubillian  at 41.2 percent. Acker was the 10th-best three-point shooter in the country last season.

What fans should expect this season from beyond the arc, Williams said, is similar to what was on display Friday and Sunday. On Friday, Marquette shot 30 percent (3-of-10) from three. On Sunday, Marquette fared better at 38.5 percent (5-of-13).

“We’re not going to shoot near the percentage or near the volume of shots from three that we did last year,” Williams said. “I never talked about shooting threes last year. It was just the skill set of the team we had.”

This year’s skill set dictates that the team create open shot opportunities from players driving into the lane and drawing help from the weak side, which will create open jumpers, Williams said. Those are the types of shots that players on the current roster can make.

When Marquette was down against Bucknell Sunday by as many as 13, it relied upon its full court press and interior play. Last season the Golden Eagles would have relied upon the three-ball to get them back into the game.

“As far as three-point shots, I don’t think we have any sharpshooters,” senior guard Dwight Buycks said. “So when we penetrate and kick it out to the open person, they might take the three or they might get a better look and drive to the hole.”

Junior forward Jae Crowder said the three-pointer will work its way more into the offense as the season progresses.

“I think that this team is very balanced,” Crowder said.  “We’re not proving that now because we’re not knocking down the three-point shot consistently. But once that comes on, everyone will see that we have a better balanced attack.”

Junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom, the team’s best returning three-point shooter at 47.4 percent last season, has struggled so far this year. In two regular season games plus the exhibition game, Johnson-Odom is shooting 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from beyond the arc.

“I’m not worried about that because it’s early in the year,” Crowder said about Johnson-Odom’s three-point field goal percentage.  “I’m waiting, just like the rest of the team, for that spark to get him going like it did last year. I know it’ll happen sooner or later.”

Check out MUTV’s recaps of the first two games below:

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