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Floor Slaps: Wilson misses second half against Georgetown

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Duane Wilson recorded two points, two assists and a steal in seven minutes of action.

Duane Wilson recorded two points, two assists and a steal in seven minutes of action.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Duane Wilson recorded two points, two assists and a steal in seven minutes of action.

Howard, Johnson steal the show for MU

It was freshman phenom Markus Howard who stole the show for Marquette in the BIG EAST conference opener, as the Arizona native led Marquette with a career-high 23 points on their way to a 76-66 victory over Georgetown. Howard was 7 of 10 for the night including five 3-pointers and was perfect from the charity stripe adding four points. From the opening tip, Howard came out on fire, as he hit four of his five 3-pointers in the first half.

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski noted that it was Howard who got the team off and running.

“For a freshman playing in his first BIG EAST game, he showed no nerves,” said Wojciechowski, “He was the guy who got us off to the start that we wanted.”

Jajuan Johnson finished with 20 points, including three dunks, and shot 8 of 15 from the field. It was Johnson’s third 20-plus point game of the season, as he also contributed five rebounds, five assists and a team high four steals in the game.

Wilson misses second half

Redshirt junior Duane Wilson missed the second half due to a left groin injury. Coach Wojciechowski said that he did not talk to Wilson after the game, but hoped it was not serious.

“I think he’s obviously hurting, and he wasn’t able to play in the second half, I have not had the opportunity to speak to our doctors yet, so I don’t know the severity of it, but I hope it’s not to severe.”

Silencing the slump

One of the concerns for the Golden Eagles heading into BIG EAST play would be how they could combat their second half woes. This was not the case tonight, as Marquette jumped on Georgetown and went on a 8-2 run to start the second half in which the Golden Eagles forced three turnovers and Sam Hauser added a block. In previous games, the Golden Eagles were prone to go on long periods of droughts, most notably against Wisconsin. However it was a different story as Marquette held Georgetown in check for much of the second half, and when it seemed that the Hoyas would go on runs, the defense would force key turnovers that quickly silenced the Hoyas’ momentum. Wojciechowski said that it was their most complete defensive game thus far.

“In the second half, when scoring became a little bit more difficult for us, it didn’t affect our defense,” Wojciechowski said. “That’s something that has happened to us at different times this season, and when the ball’s not going through the hoop, it affects us on the other end, and I didn’t feel like that happened tonight. That shows some growth and maturity and I’m proud of them.”

Turnovers lead to fast break points

Marquette forced 15 Georgetown turnovers, 12 of which were steals, which led to 14 fast-break points. Of the 12 steals, 8 of which were by Marquette guards. By denying the entry pass into Georgetown’s big men, the Golden Eagles silenced the Hoyas centers and ultimately helped Marquette remain in control. It was the 14 fast break points, including Jajuan Johnson’s three dunks that took the air out of Georgetown’s sail.

Assists pave clear path to victory

Marquette had an edge where it mattered most, not only the win column, but also the assist column, where the Golden Eagles had 19 to Georgetown’s 13. It was Johnson who led the way with five assists, followed by sophomore guard Haanif Cheatham with four. Both Luke Fischer and Howard had two, while Andrew Rowsey added three. It was effective passing that led to easy baskets and transition opportunities for Marquette, and having a high assist column has been crucial to the Golden Eagles success. As the second highest scoring team in the BIG EAST, tonight showed that effective passing leads to plenty of chances.

Best stat line

Markus Howard: 7 for 10 for 23 points, 5 for 6 from 3-point range, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Stat of the night: 0 — That’s how many times Marquette gave up the lead. The Golden Eagles took the lead from the opening tip and never looked back. Marquette led the game for 38:23, while the game was tied for a mere 1:37 midway through the first half. In a season in which Marquette has struggled to hold the lead against weaker opponents or come out flat in big-game situations, tonight was not that night.

Attendance: 14,886

Up Next: Marquette will travel to Newark, New Jersey as they will square off against Seton Hall at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, New Years Day. The Pirates (10-3) are just outside of the AP Top 25 and will be a difficult test for Marquette.

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