Marquette Wire

Pregame notes: Men’s basketball faces perimeter threat in Mount St. Mary’s

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Six days ago, poor perimeter shooting and defensive shortcomings guarding the corner three nearly resulted in an exhibition loss to Division II Lindenwood.

Tonight, Nov. 10, Marquette may come across similar dangers as the team hosts Mount St. Mary’s for its season opener and Maui Invitational regional game.

Perimeter battle

Marquette finished first in 3-point percentage last season, but the Golden Eagles won’t be the only team relying on the deep ball. Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian expects his team to take 35 3-pointers per game.

Many of those triples will likely come from senior point guard Junior Robinson. The only returning starter from last year’s NCAA Tournament team and attempted 13 3-pointers in the team’s recent exhibition against Hood.

“Junior Robinson creates a ton of offense for them,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “He creates a ton of offense by himself but he also creates a ton of offense for his teammates, and primarily, that’s off pick-and-rolls.”

The Golden Eagles’ efforts to thwart the Mountaineers’ perimeter attack comes almost a week after allowing 54 percent shooting to Lindenwood, whose small ball lineup kept Marquette’s big men playing catch up.

“We kind of got trapped into overhelping,” junior center Matt Heldt said. “If the guy is in front of him and he’s not beat, we don’t need to get all the way over the lane to help him. We can kind of stay out, work from in to out and take away the three.”

Questions at guard

Wojciechowski may have a short bench, as guards Markus Howard and Greg Elliott are both game-time decisions. Marquette declined to comment either player’s injury status since Wednesday, but Howard was seen in a walking boot Thursday.

If Howard and Elliott cannot suit up, Marquette would have only seven scholarship players available.

“It’s next man up,” Wojciechowski said. “There is no excuses. Our goals remain the same.”

Christian says he’s game planning as if Howard and Elliott suit up, citing the Golden Eagles’ four-day recovery period before hosting Purdue.

“They have four days between us and Purdue, and one thing you do when you’re at a great program is you win your home games,” Christian said. “We’re anticipating their guys being able to play and be 100 percent to protect the home floor.”

Zone defense

Marquette may see a bit more zone defense Friday from Mount St. Mary’s. Christian noticed in film Marquette’s inability to run at its preferred tempo against Lindenwood’s matchup zone.

“Lindenwood did an unbelievable job of just making them guard in space,” Christian said. “That matchup zone made Marquette pass the ball around and they couldn’t really get into their sets the way they wanted to and made a lot of guys handle the ball.”

Marquette shot only 20 percent from 3-point range against Lindenwood. Outside of Sam Hauser and Haanif Cheatham, the team was 0 for 14.

Odds

KenPom: Marquette (96 percent)

ESPN BPI: Marquette (91.5 percent)

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