Marquette Wire

Floor slaps: Elliott, Hauser shine in near upset against Eastern Illinois

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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In their return to Milwaukee from the Maui Invitational, the Golden Eagles downed Eastern Illinois University in an 86-83 overtime thriller. Here are the floor slaps of the game:

Weird game was weird

Everything felt a touch off Monday night against Eastern Illinois University. Markus Howard went on an injury scare to open the game after hurting his knee while drawing a charge. He checked back into the game after a short trip to the locker room and drained a three. Andrew Rowsey once again baited a twitchy defender into a shooting foul on a three point attempt, (also known as #TheThing, to residents of Marquette Basketball Twitter), but missed three free throw attempts.

Sam Hauser scored a career-high 30 points, but it came at the expense of Howard and Rowsey’s offense. Both guards just barely cracked double-digit points in regulation. Marquette ultimately topped its opponents, but only after trailing for nearly 31 minutes of the game.

And, of course, the entire game played out under the shadow of junior guard and Haanif Cheatham’s surprising departure from the program earlier in the day. The team has only eight available scholarship players this semester.

Greg Elliott steps up

Cheatham’s departure forced head coach Steve Wojciechowski to rely on a trio of unproven wings in freshmen Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott and redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim. After getting the starting nod, Anim showed much improved slashing and driving abilities.

Elliott impressed the most tonight, particularly on the defensive end. The 6-foot-3-inch guard displayed excellent lateral quickness and perhaps the fastest pair of hands on the team, ending the night with four blocks and four steals.

With 27 seconds to go, he converted an incredibly athletic layup while slashing to the rim, flashing potential on the offensive end as well.

The freshman missed a pair of decisive free throws with a few seconds left in overtime but immediately countered the Panthers’ fastbreak with near-perfect defense at the rim.

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

Same Hauser brings down the house

Hauser finished the first half with eight points on 3-for-7 shooting including 2-for-5 shooting from deep. The sweet shooting forward poured in an additional 17 points in the second half.

He missed just one shot in the second stanza of play, going 3 for 4 from deep and 6 for 7 overall from the field. He added another triple and a pair of free throws in overtime to end the game with 30 points.

It’s his third 20-plus point game of the season. He now averages 14.8 points per game.

“Tonight, I got a hot hand and teammates found me,” Hauser said. “I’m just trying to make plays for them.”

Stat of the night: Sam Hauser’s 30 points came off a 10-for-15 shooting night from the field, including 6-for-10 shooting from deep.

Quote of the night: “Once we got to OT, we weren’t going to lose, and we knew that,” Hauser said. “We just had to get some stops on defense.”

Next up: The Golden Eagles play their second game in a four-game homestand Wednesday when Chicago State visits the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

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