Marquette ekes out an overtime victory against Eastern Illinois

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Marquette ekes out an overtime victory against Eastern Illinois

Sam Hauser had a career-high 30 point performance against Eastern Illinois.

Sam Hauser had a career-high 30 point performance against Eastern Illinois.

Sam Hauser had a career-high 30 point performance against Eastern Illinois.

Sam Hauser had a career-high 30 point performance against Eastern Illinois.

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It took an additional five minutes of basketball, but Marquette squeezed out an 86-83 overtime victory against Eastern Illinois on Monday night. This was Marquette’s first game back on the mainland following the Maui invitational.

“I’ve been to Maui five times and I have been to Maui with teams that have eventually won a National Championship and historically your first game back on the mainland is a real struggle,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “It pretty much stuck to that script for us tonight, but our kids showed character. A lot of teams would have lost tonight and our kids didn’t.”

The Golden Eagles played their first game without junior guard Haanif Cheatham, who announced he would be leaving the team earlier in the day due personal reasons.

“(Cheatham) and I met over the weekend and he informed me he had a family matter,” Wojciechowski said. “He felt like it was in his best interest to move closer to home near his family during this time. We certainly wish Hanny the best. He has contributed a lot over his two and a half years … It is a little bit starting over. Hanny started 63-out-of-70 games. It leaves us with eight scholarship guys and three guys coming off the bench, who are freshmen.”

Marquette struggled to gain any ground on Eastern Illinois all game and only led for a total of nine minutes and 45 seconds. Anytime Marquette did catch up to the Panthers, it was thanks to sophomore forward Sam Hauser. The Stevens Point native finished with a career-high 30 points, while also bringing down nine rebounds.

“Obviously, Haanif was big loss and I hope the best for him. I think collectively we all have to step up in different ways in his absence,” Hauser said. “Tonight I got a hot hand and my teammates found me and I was just trying to make plays for them.”

Last year, Hauser never had a game with over 20-points. Through Marquette’s six games this season, he has had three.

EIU set the tempo from the jump by claiming an early 12-2 lead. Marquette came back to tie the game at 18.

The Golden Eagles’ struggles would not evaporate, however, especially from the three-point line where they only hit 33 percent of their shots. EIU went into half with a 38-35 lead.

In the second half, Marquette strung together several strong defensive stands, but missed some key baskets on the offensive end, allowing EIU to keep control of the game.

With the score 55-51 in favor of EIU with 6:39 remaining, Hauser took over and scored nine of Marquette’s next 12 points to narrow Marquette’s deficit to 63-60.

Andrew Rowsey, who finished with 16 points, used a drive and a layup to put Marquette down by just one with 56 seconds left to play. On the ensuing Marquette possession, Rowsey had what seemed like another chance for a three-point play after sinking another layup, but the whistle was for a travel call, giving the ball back to the Panthers. After being fouled, Terrell Lewis added one free throw to put EIU up 68-66.

As Marquette began to drive down the court again, Hauser was fouled. He sunk both his free throws to send the game to overtime at 68-68.

In the extra period, Marquette was up by as many as five, but the Panthers would not go away. Greg Elliot went to the free throw line with 14 seconds left and Marquette up 82-81. Elliot missed both free throws, but then came back to make a huge block on the defensive end to give the ball back to Marquette and allowed them to seal the victory.

“I told Greg in the locker room, I said, ‘you are going to go home to your dorm and you are going to think about the two free throws you missed. I’m going to go to the video room with the staff and talk about the defensive stop you got after having something bad happen,” Wojciechowski said. “That is not what freshman normally do. They usually hang their head and he didn’t. Without that stop we don’t win the game.”

Elliot finished the game with seven points, four blocks and four steals.

Marquette is back in action on Wednesday when they welcome Chicago State to the Bradley center at 8:00 p.m.

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