Marquette Wire

FLOOR SLAPS: Marquette wins first game without Howard with ease

Sophomore+Sam+Hauser+scored+28+points+on+7-of-8+3-point+shooting.
Sophomore Sam Hauser scored 28 points on 7-of-8 3-point shooting.

Sophomore Sam Hauser scored 28 points on 7-of-8 3-point shooting.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Sophomore Sam Hauser scored 28 points on 7-of-8 3-point shooting.

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With only a four-point lead at halftime, Marquette’s fate against St. John’s Wednesday night was anything but certain.

That’s when sophomore Sam Hauser took over, scoring eight points in the first 4:20 of the second half. Marquette never looked back, cruising to a 85-73 victory over the Red Storm.

“I just had to be aggressive and keep going and going,” Hauser said. “Knowing shots were going to fall eventually if I keep shooting.”

No Markus, no problem

The biggest question entering Wednesday night was how Marquette would react to the loss of sophomore guard Markus Howard, who accounted for 33.6 percent of the team’s shots before suffering a right hip contusion Saturday against Creighton.

Marquette answered that question with 1.214 points per possession in its 85-73 win Wednesday night. Five different Marquette players finished the night in double figures. The Golden Eagles had 22 assists and only 12 turnovers.

“Coach always tells us to trust each other,” freshman Jamal Cain said. “We’ve been doing a better job of trusting this week.”

Fellow freshman Greg Elliott, who replaced Howard in the starting lineup, had 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting. The Pontiac, Michigan native also had five rebounds and three assists.

“I don’t think there’s any area of the game that he didn’t impact,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “He had his fingerprints on the complete game, and Greg is capable of doing that. He’s really stepped up.”

MU dries Ponds

The last time Marquette and St. John’s squared off, sophomore Shamorie Ponds was unstoppable, scoring 44 points on 16-of-23 shooting.

Wednesday night was a much different story. Marquette limited Ponds to 19 points on a 5-for-18 shooting performance.

“Anytime you play a great player, it’s a collective effort, whether we were in man or zone,” Wojo said. “Our team was really locked in to the gameplan and trying to make life a lot more difficult for him than we did the first time around … Our guys took great pride in it.”

It was the first time Ponds could not eclipse the 25-point plateau since the Red Storm’s 70-45 loss to Butler Jan. 27.

“(The zone defense) is a good way to switch up the rhythm and really throw them off here and there,” Hauser said. “We had to keep (Ponds) on his toes, and switching on defense really helped us do that.”

“Our offensive balance was a big key to us winning the game,” Wojo said. “We want the guys to be aggressive players and take what the defense gives you. I think our team did that.”

“A big part of that is Andrew,” Wojo said. “Our team is at its best when he is being a distributor first and a scorer second, so he’s been really good at that.”

Anim continues offensive production

In Marquette’s 90-86 win over Creighton Saturday, redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim was dominant, scoring 26 points on 11-for-16 shooting, dwarfing his previous career-high of 15 points.

“He’s been in attack mode, and we’ve really need that from him,” Hauser said. “You see it every day in practice, and he’s been really aggressive.”

Anim didn’t shatter career highs Wednesday night against St. John’s, but his 11-point performance played a key part in Marquette’s 85-73 win Wednesday.

“As the season has gone on, he’s gotten more comfortable, and he’s being more aggressive,” Wojo said. “It’s not just tonight … He’s gaining more confidence by the day.”

On a team that shot 23 3-pointers, Anim gave the team a much-needed guard presence down low. He was the only player in double figures to not hit a 3-pointer.

Anim scored in double figures in three of his first 37 career games. Following his 11-point performance against St. John’s Wednesday night, he has scored 10-plus points in five of his last seven games.

Anim also grabbed six rebounds and four assists in the win.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Marquette scored on 55.9 percent of its possessions in the second half.

UP NEXT: Marquette will visit DePaul Saturday at 11 a.m. Central time. The Golden Eagles have won their last three matchups against the Blue Demons. It will be Marquette’s first game in the Wintrust Arena.

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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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