Marquette Wire

FLOOR SLAPS: Post disparity sinks Marquette against No. 3 Villanova

Sacar+Anim+and+the+rest+of+Marquette%27s+frontcourt+offense+struggled+Friday+night%2C+as+they+were+outscored+60-28+in+the+paint.
Sacar Anim and the rest of Marquette's frontcourt offense struggled Friday night, as they were outscored 60-28 in the paint.

Sacar Anim and the rest of Marquette's frontcourt offense struggled Friday night, as they were outscored 60-28 in the paint.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Sacar Anim and the rest of Marquette's frontcourt offense struggled Friday night, as they were outscored 60-28 in the paint.

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One year after shocking then-No. 1 Villanova at the BMO Bradley Center, Marquette’s rematch against No. 3 Villanova was anything but shocking. The 16-point underdogs fell to the Wildcats 100-90 Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

“(Villanova) started the game incredibly well in attack mode,” Wojo said. “And we didn’t get our footing until it was way too late.”

Here are the floor slaps of the game:

FIRST HALF POST PERILS PLAGUE MARQUETTE

Opponents outscored Marquette in the paint in each of the Golden Eagles’ first three BIG EAST games. Villanova became the fourth, owning a 38-34 advantage down low.

The 24-20 scoring deficit in the paint actually marks an improvement for Marquette after a lackadaisical first-half effort. The Golden Eagles allowed 71 percent shooting from 2-point range in the opening 20 minutes. At intermission, Villanova had a 22-8 advantage in points in the paint.

Marquette attempted to answer the Wildcats’ attack with zone defense, but it couldn’t stop Villanova’s momentum.

“They had such a rhythm offensively that we tried to do something to disrupt that rhythm,” Wojo said. “It didn’t work too well. They were in quite the flow offensively in the first half.”

Big men Matt Heldt, Harry Froling and Theo John were a non-factor; the trio combined to score just two points on 1-for-5 shooting. Wing player Sam Hauser had as many rebounds (8) as the three post players combined.

The team turned the page in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 12-2 in the paint and out-rebounding them 23-17.

“The kids that came into the game in the last 10 minutes of the game really competed,” Wojo said. “There were a number of breaking points in the game where the game could’ve gone wide open and I’m proud of our guys for not allowing that to happen.”

ONE-DIMENSIONAL OFFENSE

Villanova’s post defense made Marquette’s offense one-dimensional for large stretches of the game. Fifteen of the team’s first 18 points came from the perimeter.

About 62 percent of Marquette’s first half scoring came from the beyond the arc, compared to 39 percent of Villanova’s first half offense.

Three days after relying on Howard for 52 of the team’s 95 points, last year’s most efficient 3-point shooter scored 37 of Marquette’s 90 points.

Marquette’s reliance on perimeter shooting accentuated senior Andrew Rowsey’s miscues Saturday night. The sharpshooting guard shot two for 12 from the field and was limited to eight minutes in the second half. He also missed all five of his 2-point attempts on the night and had more turnovers than points.

“I don’t think Andrew had his best game,” Wojo said. “For a kid that’s been so good, these types of games can happen.”

A more energized second half lineup, largely without Rowsey, shot 46.5 percent in the second half but could not cut Villanova’s lead to less than five points. The Wildcats had the lead for the entire game except the first 15 seconds.

 

BALANCE… OR LACK THEREOF

Unlike Marquette’s 95-90 overtime win against Providence in which point guard Kyron Cartwright scored 29 points, no player individually wreaked havoc on Marquette’s defense.

Instead, six Wildcat players all scored at least 10 points, including three players — juniors Jalen Brunson, Eric Paschall and Mikal Bridges — with at least 18 points. Wojo attributed some of the balanced scoring attack to the Wildcats’ aptitude to cut towards the paint.

While Marquette had four players in double figures, Howard was the only one to score more than 14 points. Two of the four players to score double figures — Sacar Anim and Greg Elliott — entered Saturday with only one 20-plus minute BIG EAST game.

“We’re throwing a lot of guys into situations they’ve never been in before,” Wojo said. “And those kids are growing from those situations.”

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “When you make a mistake, they make you pay,” Wojo said regarding Villanova’s 16 points off 12 Marquette turnovers. “The first reason why they’re great is they don’t beat themselves, and the second reason they’re great is because when you make a mistake, they punish you for it.”

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Markus Howard has scored more points this week (89) than Matt Heldt did (74) in all of 2016-‘17.

UP NEXT: Marquette will return to the BMO Harris Bradley Center Tuesday to host No. 21 Seton Hall. The Pirates are coming off a 90-87 win over Butler Saturday afternoon.

Four different Seton Hall players average at least 14 points per game, making the Pirates one of the most versatile offenses in the BIG EAST. KenPom, a prominent college basketball analytics site, gives Seton Hall a 53 percent win probability against Marquette.

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