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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Golden THREEagles: Sharpshooting trio look to round out its skill sets

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg
Senior Andrew Rowsey elevates for a three-pointer in the preseason scrimmage against UW-Milwaukee.

When Marquette takes the floor Nov. 10 for its season opener against Mount St. Mary’s, the offense will rely less on its game plan from a year ago.

In 2016-’17, Marquette lived and died by the 3-pointer. The team would constantly bail out defensive shortcomings with a high-octane perimeter offense that took over 40 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.

“Last year’s team was a very unique offensive team,” Wojciechowski said. “One of the things our guys last year always thought we could outscore people, and in a lot of cases, they were right.”

That won’t fly for the Golden Eagles this year, as the team replaces a large chunk of its scoring from last season. Much of the change in offensive mindset stems from the departures of forward Katin Reinhardt and guard Duane Wilson. Reinhardt was one of three Golden Eagles to have 150 or more 3-point attempts in 2016-’17. Wilson was the only player to reach that benchmark in 2015-’16, although his 3-point opportunities dramatically decreased in 2016-’17 as higher-percentage shooters were fed more opportunities.

Even with Reinhardt and Wilson in the mix, Marquette’s reliance on perimeter scoring quickly became a negative in BIG EAST play. When the Golden Eagles shot less than 41 percent from long distance, they were 1-6 on the season. In comparison, they were 9-2 when they surpassed the 41 percent mark.

Marquette’s defensive woes amplified the team’s offensive struggles. The team finished last year ranked 241st in effective field goal percentage allowed according to KenPom, a prominent college basketball analytics website.

This leaves sophomores Markus Howard and Sam Hauser and redshirt senior Andrew Rowsey as the team’s three primary offensive options. Howard was the most accurate 3-point shooter in the country last year, shooting an astounding 54.7 percent from long distance. Rowsey and Hauser also proved to be efficient from outside, shooting 44.7 and 45.3 percent, respectively.

Howard and Hauser developed a strong bond right away as roommates, which only helped their respective games last season.

“They have a great friendship and they genuinely care about one another,” Wojo said. “When you have that, it tends to carry over onto the court and I think you can see that when those two play.”

Without the full arsenal of firepower on last year’s team, Howard realizes his role is going to change a bit.

“I see having a bigger role just as a leader on the court … me and Rowsey really being those guys to lead our team,” Howard said. “So really just trying to do whatever I can on the court as well as off to put us in the best position to win.”

Through the first few weeks of practice, Howard believes he’s already put himself in a much better position defensively.

“It’s been a lot better,” Howard said. “I’m getting more in the stance, moving my feet better (and) being quick laterally.”

On a team with only one senior and two scholarship juniors, Howard and Hauser will also assume leadership roles much earlier than expected.

“We’re talking about them being our most experienced players; that’s not normal in the BIG EAST,” Wojo said. “The BIG EAST is a league that traditionally gets old and stays old. We’re not at that iteration of our program quite yet, but we’re going to get there.”

The new leadership role will not change how Howard approaches his sophomore season.

“I feel no different than last year,” Howard said. “I’m going to come in with the same mindset – having to earn everything and work extremely hard each and every day.”

Hauser, whom Wojo called “Mr. Consistency” during media day, lead the team in minutes last season and is now one of the best scoring options on the team.

“I’m not sure if I’ve been around a freshman who’s been as consistent as Sam was from beginning to end,” Wojo said. “You pretty much knew what you were getting from him on a daily basis practice and game-wise.”

Part of Hauser’s increased role will include using his speed to create more opportunities in the paint.

“We’d actually like to get him closer to the basket more,” Wojo said. “He’ll be able to score from different areas, which we’ll try to utilize.”

Even though Wojo expects 3-point shooting to no longer be Plan A, B and C, the fourth-year coach said he won’t hesitate to make it a big part of his arsenal.

“You give those guys freedom,” Wojo said. “(Howard) shoots 55 percent from three. You don’t have to be a coach to realize that if he’s open, he’s going to have a little more leash than the guy that shoots 32 percent.”

“Our philosophy offensively is the ball is going to find the best shot,” Wojo said. “If Markus is open 15 times from behind the arc and he doesn’t shoot all 15, I’m going to have a real problem with him. Same thing with Rowsey. Same thing with Sam (Hauser).”

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