Marquette Wire

Turnover advantage, 3-point shooting gives Marquette first BIG EAST win of year against Georgetown

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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After being outscored 44-28 in the paint and out-rebounded 37-34 Wednesday against Xavier, Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski knew the team needed to improve its post play.

“Obviously we have to protect our paint at a higher level,” Wojo said Wednesday. “I wish it was just one thing we had to work on. There’s more than that.”

Marquette (10-4) barely improved Saturday against Georgetown in the paint, but better ball handling and 3-point shooting helped the Golden Eagles claim its first BIG EAST victory 74-65 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The Hoyas (10-3) turned the ball over a season-high 25 times, dwarfing Marquette’s 14 turnovers. The Golden Eagles scored 20 points off Georgetown’s miscues.

“Forcing 25 turnovers was a positive development,” Wojo said after Saturday’s win. “Our guys were connected defensively … Our guys played with great energy and great unity.”

“We just wanted to defend them the best we can,” redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim said. “The defensive plan was really just to not let those big guys get into us so much.”

Meanwhile, Marquette shot an efficient 50 percent from 3-point range. Three different players made at least three 3-pointers.

This made up for a 38-29 rebounding deficit and a 24-18 deficit in points in the paint. Marquette also did not make a single 2-point shot in the second half.

“They have two big guys that really protect the rim,” Wojo said. “So it’s hard to score against them.”

The victory was not always a guarantee, however. A scoring drought lasting over five minutes in the second half allowed Georgetown to cut the game to 69-63 despite Marquette leading by 16 points a few minutes earlier.

“There were some makeable shots that we missed,” Wojo said. “We had some turnovers and the ball stopped moving … But those are things we can rectify.”

A Rowsey 3-pointer, which Wojo dubbed “the one-legged flier,” with 59.5 seconds left put the game out of reach. Rowsey finished the night with a season-high 35 points on 9-for-18 shooting including six 3-pointers. The only other Marquette player to score in double figures was sophomore Markus Howard, who scored 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

“We have two guards that are elite-level scorers,” Wojo said. “Andrew was terrific with his shooting in the second half, knocking down pressure free throws and the one-legged flier was really good.”

Anim injured his knee in the second half, but he said it was just a bruised knee and expects to be fine.

“It was just a little bruise. He ran into my knee,” Anim said. “It was one of those bangers, but I’ll be good.”

Marquette will have its first road test of the BIG EAST season Wednesday at Providence. The Friars swept Marquette in last year’s season series. Providence is currently 33rd in RPI.

“That’s going to be a really tough game for us,” Anim said. “We have to come in and we have to follow our defensive plan and just do what we do.”

The Friars opened conference play with a 94-72 win over St. John’s and will visit Creighton Sunday. The Golden Eagles will not have back-to-back home games again until Jan. 28.

“Being on the road is something that we have to embrace,” Wojo said. “You have to be able in this league to go on the road and be tough and together and execute under pressure in a hostile environment … It’s a great opportunity.”

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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. He primarily covers men’s basketball, women’s soccer and basketball recruiting. You can follow his coverage on Twitter @JSteppe1.

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