MUBB wraps non-conference action with win over Blue Hose

Team riding 9-game winning streak into BIG EAST play

Photo by Doug Peters/[email protected]

It took 35 minutes for Marquette to pull away and eventually secure an 84-66 victory over Presbyterian Sunday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles put up a season-high 73 shot attempts in a run-and-gun matchup with the lowly Blue Hose of the Big South conference. The formula for success was much of the same as it’s been all season for Marquette: getting the ball inside to freshman Henry Ellenson and redshirt junior Luke Fischer. Both big men flourished against the smaller Blue Hose lineup.

Ellenson finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in what was his best statistical game this season. It was his seventh double-double this year and his third in as many games. Fischer also notched his fourth double-double of the season, going for 17 points and 14 rebounds.

“(Henry)’s obviously a huge part of our team and we depend on him in a big way,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I know that the quality of competition and the focus of game plans as we head into the BIG EAST are going to be another level for him and he’s going to have to adjust to that.”

Despite the clear size advantage against the Blue Hose’s four-guard lineup, the Golden Eagles struggled to finish at the rim throughout the game. When shots weren’t falling in the paint, the team started heaving three-pointers early in possessions. Marquette finished an ugly first half 14-for-41 (34 percent) from the field, including just 3-for-11 from long range, and carried a narrow 38-29 lead into the locker room.

Blue Hose sophomore DeSean Murray, last year’s Big South Freshman of the Year, gave Marquette’s frontcourt some trouble, particularly in the first half. The 6-foot-5 forward went went for 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half and proved to be a tough assignment for the less agile Ellenson on both ends of the floor at times. Murray finished the day with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Golden Eagles controlled the glass for much of the game against the Blue Hose’ four guard lineup, grabbing 53 total rebounds. That mark includes 20 offensive rebounds – 46.5 percent of their misses – but they were only able to convert those second chances into 19 points.

Fortunately for Marquette, the team started getting more production from its veterans – Fischer, redshirt sophomore Duane Wilson and sophomore Sandy Cohen – in the second half to start pulling away. The trio shot 10-for-19 in the second half to lead the Golden Eagles down the stretch.

Despite the win, Marquette will need a much stronger effort when it opens BIG EAST play at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Wednesday against Seton Hall. The Pirates come to Milwaukee with a 10-2 record, identical to Marquette’s record, and are led by a lethal sophomore foursome of Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado. This versatile lineup contributes 68 percent of the Pirates’ offense this season. The Golden Eagles cannot afford to be so lackadaisical if they want to get off on the right foot in conference play.