Golden Eagles aim for .500 against Bluejays

Photo+By+Amy+Elliott-Meisel

Photo By Amy Elliott-Meisel

Marquette returns to the Bradley Center Wednesday night after a week-long hiatus for contest against the Creighton Bluejays.

Marquette (9-6, 1-2) comes into the game following a disappointing loss at Georgetown. The Golden Eagles trailed all game, and eventually chipped away the Hoyas lead down to one point, but poor shooting and costly errors allowed Georgetown to earn the 65-59 victory. Now, the Golden Eagles will turn their attention to the Doug McDermott-less Creighton squad.

The Bluejays travel to Milwaukee in last place in the Big East. Creighton (9-8, 0-4) has yet to win a conference game, and is coming into the game with a five-game losing streak. However, two of those losses came against Top-25 teams. Creighton fell to then-No. 25 Georgetown 76-61, and lost to then-No. 19 Seton Hall 68-67. Despite being winless in conference play, the Bluejays will still test the Golden Eagles.

The matchup should be tightly contested throughout, as Marquette averages just one-tenth of a point less than Creighton per game. The Bluejays average 69.4 points per game, while the Golden Eagles average 69.3.

Marquette holds the statistical advantage in both shooting percentage and opponent’s shooting percentage, which could be the difference makers. Marquette enters the game averaging a .464 shooting percentage, which is 44th in the nation. At home, that percentage increases to .474. Creighton averages a .420 shooting percentage, which is 222nd in the nation, and that number falls to .389 when on the road. One year ago, the Bluejays ranked third in the nation with a .499 shooting percentage.

Neither team is significantly stout on the other end of the floor, but Marquette is the slightly better defensive team. Marquette ranks 179th with a .430 opponent shooting percentage. In the Bradley Center, the Golden Eagles hold opponents to a .398 shooting percentage. Creighton holds opponents to a .431 shooting percentage, which is 181st in the nation. But that number increases to .453 when away from Omaha.

The Golden Eagles’ shooting has improved because of the presence of sophomore Luke Fischer. Fischer is receiving plenty of paint touches since his Dec. 16 debut, and as a result, leads Marquette with an .816 shooting percentage. The second closest player is senior Juan Anderson, who has a .552 shooting percentage with 67 more attempts. Fischer also leads Marquette in scoring with 13.1 points per game. Graduate student Matt Carlino (12.3), Anderson (11.3), and sophomore Duane Wilson (10.9) are the other Golden Eagles scoring in double digits.

As for the Bluejays, they are led by senior Austin Chatman and sophomore Isaiah Zierden. Chatman averages 12.4 points per game, while Zierdan averages 10.4. They are Creighton’s only players scoring in double figures. However, the team’s best shooter is Zach Hanson, who has a .618 shooting percentage on 55 attempts. Hanson is a dangerous threat off the bench, but he averages only 14.1 minutes per game.

Battling Creighton at home gives Marquette an opportunity to bounce back from a disappointing finish against Georgetown. While the Bluejays will give the Golden Eagles another solid Big East test, Marquette should have a good chance at getting the victory and moving back to .500 in conference play.