MUBB takeaways: Wisconsin

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MUBB takeaways: Wisconsin

Photo by Matthew Serafin/matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin/matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin/matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin/matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Marquette 57, Wisconsin 55

Team Leaders
Points: Henry Ellenson (15)
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson (11)
Assists: Henry Ellenson, Duane Wilson (4)

Ellenson steps up in national spotlight 

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski let freshman Henry Ellenson take the reigns for the rookie’s first true road test at the collegiate level – a game that was featured on ESPN2. Ellenson played 37 minutes and was involved on every play on the offensive end. He took a team-high 17 shots, converting on 7 of them.

“This is probably the most physical game I’ve played,” Ellenson said.

His on-ball defense was lackluster in the first half, allowing Wisconsin’s Vitto Brown to knock down a few shots early. Ellenson turned his defense around in the second half, though, and appeared to play more comfortably on that end. In the team’s most important game so far this season, Ellenson finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and just one turnover. It was his fifth double-double of the season.

“I wanted to show who the best team in the state and the best player in the state is,” Ellenson told ESPN.

Golden Eagles tame biggest Badger threats

Wisconsin juniors Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig were the highest cause for concern for a Marquette defense that came into the game allowing over 70 points per game to opponents.

“Those two kids at their position match up with anyone,” Wojciechowski said. “They have great game experience and have been a part of and used to winning.”

Wojciechowski put sophomore Sandy Cohen on Hayes and freshman Haanif Cheatham on Koenig for a majority of the game, and the two underclassmen exceeded any expectations for shutting down Wisconsin’s scoring duo. Hayes finished the game with 10 points and six rebounds on a putrid 4-of-18 shooting, while Koenig had just eight points on 3-for-11 from the floor.

“We wanted to be really aggressive on ball screens against Koenig,” Wojciechowski said. “Sandy Cohen had a remarkable game against Hayes. He’s one of the most versatile players in the country and I thought Sandy just fought him the entire night. That’s who Sandy’s becoming, he’s becoming our best perimeter defender.”

Finally, Marquette plays entire game with inside-out offense

Wojciechowski has said all season that the team’s offensive focus is to play inside-out; get the ball inside to Ellenson or redshirt junior Luke Fischer, and let them make the decisions. In the tenth game of the season, the formula finally worked for Marquette. The big man combo put up 27 of the team’s 46 shots. The Golden Eagles were able to get 36 points in the paint, compared to just 16 for the Badgers.

With Ellenson and Fischer getting the ball often and in high-pressure situations, the Golden Eagles strayed from taking so many outside shots. After shooting 28 three-pointers in the last game against San Jose State, Marquette took only five long-range attempts Saturday.

“One of the things that’s different with Wisconsin’s defense is that when you penetrate, they don’t help off the perimeter as much, so they don’t give up as many threes as other teams do,” Wojciechowski said. “It’s not just a matter of we didn’t shoot as many threes, we took what the defense gave us.”

Marquette also kept up the tempo on offense, going for 17 fast break points. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin only had two points in that category.

Carter’s terrible game is cause for concern

Freshman guard Traci Carter was playing much better entering this week, but a so-so performance against San Jose State Tuesday and a dreadful game Saturday against Wisconsin is worrisome for the team’s starting point guard.

Carter committed two fouls within the first two minutes of the game and was forced to sit out much of the first half. When he did play, he was erratic with the ball and virtually nonexistent on defense. He had no points, one rebound, no assists and four turnovers in just 13 minutes of action, unacceptable numbers from a starting point guard. How will Carter react in equally-momentous conference road games at schools like Xavier, Georgetown and Villanova? Perhaps this is a hiccup, but maybe he’s just not ready for high-pressure situations.

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