Men’s basketball falls flat against Michigan

Marquette struggled on both sides of the ball in a demoralizing 79-61 loss against the Michigan Wolverines at the 2K Classic. The two teams were tied at 15 early in the first, but as Michigan’s open layups and threes increased, the Golden Eagles’ composure sunk like an anchor.

The Golden Eagles’ issues began with turnovers. They had 14 in the first half, three each from Katin Reinhardt and Jajuan Johnson. On defense, the Golden Eagles consistently left Wolverines wide open, both inside on the pick-and-roll and on the perimeter. Center Luke Fischer continued to come out of the paint to force ball handlers into turnovers, but he frequently hung outside too long and allowed for wide open center layups.

“We didn’t help ourselves by not doing the things we practiced on the defensive end,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Good teams make you pay.”

Michigan shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.

As for the offense, the Golden Eagles made three less field goals in the first half than they had turnovers. Offensive fouls were once again an issue, especially when it comes to moving screens. The team shot 40 percent from the field and 25 from three-point range, a number inflated by a handful of late threes.

“We’ve got to become tougher when shots aren’t falling,” Wojciechowski said. “It can’t impact your defense.”

Keeping up with this season’s trend, Marquette’s first half was much rougher than its second. Marquette was down 50-26 at halftime, as Michigan ended the frame on a 35-11 run. Only turning the ball over three times in the second half helped Marquette get as close as 12 with five minutes left in the second, but a Zak Irvin 3-pointer and a D.J. Wilson dunk helped put the Golden Eagles away.

Fischer was Marquette’s only efficient starter, shooting 8 of 13 for 19 points. Haanif Cheatham hit three 3-pointers, scoring 12 points on 3 for 9 shooting. There was a lid on the basket for Reinhardt, who went 1 for 9 with a lone 3-pointer. Contributions from the bench were limited, as the Golden Eagles had only two points from their reserves for a good chunk of the game. Markus Howard led the way off the pine, scoring eight points on 2 of 5 shooting.

Tomorrow the Golden Eagles will play Pitt, who lost tonight to SMU, 76-67. Tipoff is set for 3:30 from Madison Square Garden, as the game will proceed the SMU-Michigan championship game.