Marquette Wire

Howard foul trouble sinks Marquette in loss to Georgia

Sophomore+Markus+Howard+finished+with+29+points+in+Marquette%27s+loss+to+Georgia.
Sophomore Markus Howard finished with 29 points in Marquette's loss to Georgia.

Sophomore Markus Howard finished with 29 points in Marquette's loss to Georgia.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Sophomore Markus Howard finished with 29 points in Marquette's loss to Georgia.

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Markus Howard finished Wednesday night in the record books after breaking the program’s individual single-game 3-point mark with 11 triples. Saturday was far less rosy for last year’s most efficient 3-point shooter. Howard had two fouls 36 seconds into Marquette’s game against Georgia and finished the first half with three fouls.

“First minute of the game, I can’t let that happen,” Howard said. “It’s nothing the coaches did, it’s nothing the other team did, nothing the refs did. That was on me.”

Without Howard, Marquette had one of its worst offensive stretches this season. The Golden Eagles scored a paltry 0.65 points per possession. Georgia outscored Marquette 23-13 in the seven minutes without Howard, which was enough to carry the Bulldogs to a 73-66 victory and send Marquette to its third loss of the season.

“Markus is a really good offensive player,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “(The team is) just not at Markus’ level. Having him in foul trouble really hurt us in a number of ways.”

“My team needs me on the floor, so I need to adjust to whatever the defense or the offensive team throws at me,” Howard said. “Me not being on the court as long as I was, I think that affected us.”

Eliminating Howard was a key part of Georgia’s gameplan, according to head coach Mark Fox.

One of the things we wanted to do is make him play defense,” Fox said. “We were able to get him in some situations where he drew some fouls. But he’s a great player. In the second half, he brought them back himself.”

In Marquette’s 20 minutes with Howard on the floor, the sophomore shined, finishing the game with 29 points on 11-for-22 shooting. He hit four of 12 from long distance.

Not much else went right for Marquette in the second half. Outside of Howard, Marquette went 2 for 13 from the field, forcing Howard to take 16 of the team’s 29 shots in the last 20 minutes.

“I knew I had to come out and be aggressive in the second half,” Howard said. “Balls kind of got stagnant, so I wanted to make things happen.”

Marquette also didn’t have an answer for Georgia’s big men down the stretch. After keeping the Bulldogs to a 12-10 advantage in the paint in the first half, Marquette surrendered a 20-10 advantage in the second.

Marquette remained within one possession for much of the game in spite of the team’s poor performance, but three turnovers in a two-minute stretch approaching the under-four timeout allowed the Bulldogs to pull away with a win. “We have to make really good decisions and we have to listen,” Wojo said. “During that time we made really poor decisions.”

Star power forward Yante Maten scored a team-high 13 points for Georgia, going five of eight from the field.

“Maten is one hell of a player,” Howard said. “There’s a reason why he’s so highly touted in the SEC.”

Marquette held the senior forward to his lowest point total this season, which Wojo attributed to following the coaches’ instructions.

“Maten is a guy that if you don’t really battle, he can have 30 (points) and 20 (rebounds) and has had that before in college, Wojo said. “Especially in the first half, we really executed the defensive game plan.”

Georgia is the first of three high-caliber opponents Marquette will face in the next week. The Golden Eagles host Vermont Tuesday before heading to in-state rival Wisconsin Saturday. KenPom, a prominent basketball analytics site, ranks Vermont 66th nationally, nine spots behind Marquette.

“We have to come back Tuesday because we’re playing a very good Vermont team,” Howard said. “We have to prepare the right way.”

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

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