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PREVIEW: Rebounding, ball security vital for Georgetown game

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PREVIEW: Rebounding, ball security vital for Georgetown game

Marquette defeated Georgetown, 74-65, earlier this season.

Marquette defeated Georgetown, 74-65, earlier this season.

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Marquette defeated Georgetown, 74-65, earlier this season.

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Marquette defeated Georgetown, 74-65, earlier this season.

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Marquette men’s basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski did not mince words after last Saturday’s loss to DePaul.

“On the defensive end, the number one key was block out. Did a horrible job of that,” Wojo said. “Number one key offensively was take care of the ball. We did a horrible job of that.”

The Golden Eagles (16-12, 7-9 BIG EAST) will need to drastically improve both aspects of the game if they’re going to defeat the Georgetown Hoyas (15-12, 5-11 BIG EAST) and salvage any remaining hope of making the NCAA Tournament.

Tipoff is at 6 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1.

 

BEATEN ON THE BOARDS 

Grabbing defensive rebounds was not Marquette’s strong suit against the Blue Demons. DePaul rebounded 44.2 percent of its misses, the highest percentage of any conference opponent, totaling 49 rebounds to Marquette’s 30.

Six different Blue Demons grabbed rebounds, repeatedly gaining favorable position on Marquette around the basket. Marin Maric led the way with 13 and Max Strus totaled 11 as they both finished with double-doubles. It led to 32 free throws for DePaul.

“When you allow teams to get offensive rebound after offensive rebound, you put them in position to get fouled,” Wojo said.

There will be no respite in the rebounding battle for Marquette tonight. Two of the top 10 offensive rebounders in the conference – seniors Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson – play for the Hoyas. Head coach Patrick Ewing stressed how vital they are to the team during the BIG EAST coaches’ teleconference.

“One of the things I try to tell both (Jessie) and Marcus Derrickson is that they are our best players,” Ewing said. “In order for us to be successful, they are going to have to dominate.”

 

A COMEDY OF ERRORS

Ordinarily, holding onto the ball isn’t a problem for Marquette; the Golden Eagles’ turnover percentage of 16.8 ranks 59th out of 351 teams.

That trend changed big-time against the Blue Demons, as DePaul forced 15 turnovers, which equated to a turnover percentage of 20.8 percent. The backbreaker happened with Marquette down five with 2:27 remaining. Redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim stepped out of bounds while driving the baseline, effectively sealing the game for DePaul.

Wojo attributed Marquette’s turnover troubles to their lack of maturity.

“We were a very, very, very immature basketball team,” Wojo said. “That’s not surprising because that’s who we’ve been all year. Our immaturity has led to crazy amounts of inconsistency.”

Georgetown has struggled all season with turnovers, averaging a 21 percent giveaway rate. The Hoyas have posted percentages less than that for the previous four games, which suggests they’ve tightened up their ballhandling.

When Marquette and Georgetown last met in December, the Hoyas turned the ball over 25 times, leading to 20 Marquette points in a 74-65 Golden Eagle victory.

 

FROLING ON THE BENCH

With rebounding posing such a big problem for Marquette, one might expect increased playing time for redshirt sophomore Harry Froling, who has the best offensive and defensive rebounding percentage on the team.

Instead, Froling hasn’t seen the court in the last two games and hasn’t played more than 10 minutes since Marquette’s loss to St. John’s Feb. 10.

When asked about Froling’s absence, Wojo said, “I think the other guys are playing better.”

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