Howard, Marquette break 3-point records in blowout over Chicago State


Photo by Jordan Johnson

Markus Howard pulls up for a three-pointer on his record-breaking evening.

Marquette consistently masked its defensive struggles last year with historically efficient 3-point shooting.

That same trend continued Wednesday as sophomore Markus Howard lit up  a weak Chicago State defense, breaking the individual single game 3-point record with 11 threes and helping the team hit a record 18 threes in the team’s 95-69 win.

The record-breaking moment came at the 7:14 mark, less than a minute after he tied the record. Howard did not find out until the next media timeout.

“My teammates were kind of pumping me up,” Howard said regarding the moment. “I didn’t really know what they were talking about.”

Howard’s historic night came despite a relatively quiet start. Nine of his 11 3-pointers came after the first 10 minutes.

“Guys were really looking for the open guy,” Howard said. “They were in a zone for most of the game, so really just pinpointing certain spots that would get us open looks.”

Howard broke the record with 73 percent 3-point shooting. He missed his lone 2-point attempt on a first half jumper.

There was one record Howard did not break though: his personal scoring record. His 33 points was one point short of his 34-point barrage last year against Xavier on National Marquette Day.

Howard’s performance came after a relatively slow start from the perimeter this season. He attributed the improvement in scoring to shot selection.

“The first six games, just looking back at film and stuff, I was taking some really tough shots,” Howard said. “My teammates found me in great spots and I didn’t try to do too much.”

Head coach Steve Wojciechowski also noted Howard’s vocal leadership. “He was really verbal in the locker room before the game, throughout the first half, at halftime,” Wojo said. “He really immersed himself in the game. A lot of the times when you do that as a competitor, your instincts and your talents come out. And certainly his talents came out tonight.”

“I know Markus’ shooting numbers haven’t been great, but he’s as good of a shooter as there is in college basketball,” Wojo continued. “Every time those guys are open, they should shoot the ball because they’re capable of nights like this.”

Senior Andrew Rowsey had 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting, including six 3-pointers. Sacar Anim, Greg Elliott and Jamal Cain all had career highs in scoring.

Not everything went according to plan for the Golden Eagles, however. Poor guard defense let Chicago State remain within 15 points until the 14:06 mark in the second half. Sharpshooter Fred Sims, Jr. had 16 first half points.

“Your natural instinct when you’re starting to see someone hit 3-pointers from behind the 3-point line is you want to spread your defense out to take those away,” Wojo said. “That went against what we wanted to do.”

The team shored up the defensive miscues at halftime. “We definitely got a little bit of a motivational speech at halftime,” Howard said. “That’s all I have to say about that.”

The team went from allowing 56 percent shooting in the first half to limiting Chicago State to 29 percent in the second half. Sims had four second half points on 1-of-9 shooting.

“Our coaches are talking about all the time keeping our paint tight, making sure that we’re stepping our gaps when we’re off the ball,” Howard said. “We really emphasized that and we executed well in that aspect.”

Guard defense has consistently been an issue for Marquette; the Golden Eagles recently allowed 39 points to LSU’s Tremont Waters and 27 to Eastern Illinois’ Jajuan Starks in its last two games.

Marquette’s defense will have another test Saturday when they host the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia forward Yante Maten averaged 18.2 points per game last season, ranking among the best scorers in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

“They’re big and athletic,” Wojciechowski said. “Really at every position they’ve got really good experience.”

KenPom, a prominent basketball statistical analysis website, ranks Georgia 69th in the country. The Bulldogs are coming off a narrow 83-81 overtime win over Saint Mary’s.