Marquette upset by Omaha at home

Photo+by+Cassie+Rogala%2Fcassandra.rogala%40marquette.edu

Photo by Cassie Rogala/[email protected]

Matt Barbato

It started off sluggishly and ended painfully for the Marquette Golden Eagles, who were dropped by the Omaha Mavericks of the Summit Conference by a score of 97-89 on its home court on Saturday afternoon. It was Marquette’s first loss to a mid-major team since 2006.

The Golden Eagles (1-2) could not contain Omaha’s swift backcourt. The combination of Devin Patterson and CJ Carter scored 26 and 25 points respectively for the Mavericks. Omaha had¬†five players in double figures Saturday afternoon.

Marquette’s captains stepped up on Saturday, but to no avail. Juan Anderson scored 23 points and Derrick Wilson poured in a career-high 17 points in the losing effort. Marquette had an additional three players in double figures, as Duane Wilson scored 15 and Matt Carlino and Deonte Burton each contributed 12 points.

The drive-and-kick offense was the bread and butter for the Mavericks. Omaha’s speed was too much to handle for Marquette’s backcourt, as Omaha set itself up with either easy looks at the rim, or open shots from the perimeter.

When Marquette did play good defense it could not catch a break. Omaha shot 57 percent from the floor for the game and a gaudy 62.5 percent in the second half. Omaha also dominated the glass, out-rebounding Marquette 40-24.

Speed was the key for Omaha in all aspects. The Mavericks are known for playing a frantic pace of basketball and it gave Marquette fits in transition. Omaha earned 34 points in the paint and 27 points in transition.

Not only did Omaha force Marquette to collapse on defense, it kept Steve Taylor out of the game for most of the action. Marquette’s tallest player logged only 17 minutes Saturday, which hampered Marquette on the boards.

“Their guards were really quick and we couldn’t stop them from getting into the paint,” Derrick Wilson said.

Omaha’s quick start could not be overcome. The Mavericks jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first four minutes of action while Marquette struggled to find its rhythm from the floor.

“It was key,” said Omaha head coach Derrin Hansen. “You at least put a little bit of shock into the other team. It gives our guys some confidence as well so I thought it was huge.”

The start was enormous, as Marquette led for merely 47 seconds Saturday afternoon.

“They just came out and they played harder and they beat us,” Wilson said. “When you come out that flat against a team whose hungry for you it’s going to be hard to beat.”

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski said he was disappointed in his team’s effort defensively, particularly in transition.

“Omaha plays the second-fastest tempo in the United States,” Wojciechowski said. “That’s what they do and we knew that coming in. That’s been a point of emphasis for us and obviously we’re still not good enough. We have to become a much better transition defense team. The dribble penetration was bad. We’ve worked on it a lot and it’s obvious we need to continue to work on it a little bit more.”

Marquette had several moments throughout the day when it climbed back into action, but the Mavericks stymied all momentum with some timely shooting.

“It is deflating,” Wojciechowski said. “I thought our guys showed some grit to claw back in the game and even take the lead. We didn’t play with poise or intelligence once we got the lead and that’s why you can’t dig yourself in a hole.”

Marquette will need to recover quickly as the team squares off with NJIT on Monday night at home before heading to the Orlando Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. Wojciechowski has urged collectivity all season and said he needs more from his entire team going forward.

“We’re a team that’s got to fight like crazy together in order to beat anyone on our schedule,” Wojciechowski said. “We do not have anyone on our roster who has been an established marquee player at Marquette. We’re asking these guys to do more than they’ve ever done and we have to get a lot better.”