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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

FLOOR SLAPS: Marquette survives NIT scare thanks to free throws

Photo by John Steppe
Marquette blanketed Harvard all night, forcing 22 turnovers.

Marquette survived a late comeback from the Harvard Crimson in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament and came away with a 67-60 victory. It was Marquette’s first NIT victory since the 2004 season.


Marquette needed every free throw available in order to put off a gritty Harvard team. The Golden Eagles went 17-of-18 from the line, including 9-of-10 in the fourth quarter, to seal a victory. Meanwhile, Harvard’s normally reliable free throw shooting sputtered. The 11th-most accurate free throw shooting team in the country hit just nine of its 17 free throws.

The Golden Eagles got perfect free throw shooting days from Markus Howard (9-of-9), Andrew Rowsey (4-of-4), Theo John (2-of-2) and Jamal Cain (2-of-2).


Marquette jump-started its offense in the second half by forcing three consecutive Crimson turnovers, part of a seven-turnover third quarter by the Crimson.

That led to a Markus Howard solo show later in the quarter; he went on an 8-0 run to stretch Marquette’s lead from 10 to 18, prompting Crimson head coach Tommy Amaker to burn a timeout.

“I thought those few minutes early there in the second half in the third quarter was a big difference,” Amaker said. “They stretched us out, got in transition and made some easy baskets, and we had to call a quick timeout to see if we could stop the run.”

Howard said he embraced the Al McGuire Center crowd during his run, crediting them for putting the the Golden Eagles over the edge.

“I thought the Al was great,” Howard said. “I was really appreciative of all of the people who came out. I heard tickets sold out in about eight minutes, and I give a lot of credit to our fans staying loyal to us. I just hope it continues on Sunday.”


Marquette held Harvard to just 60 points, the third-lowest total that any opponent has scored against the Golden Eagles this year. Golden Eagle head coach Steve Wojciechowski thought on-ball defense was instrumental in his team’s victory.

“I thought our guys played really good defense for the majority of the game,” Wojo said. “We played as hard as we’ve played all year on the defensive end. Our pressure on the ball was terrific … our help-side was terrific, and I think we played so hard defensively it affected us on offense.”

Marquette held the Crimson to 21 first-half points, the fewest its given up in a half since holding the DePaul Blue Demons to 21 back in January. The Golden Eagles also forced 22 Harvard turnovers, converting them into 21 points of their own.

“I thought our turnovers were big,” Amaker said.  “Their pressure, I mean, it’s not just us, but they caused us to do it. Then, there were some where we were pretty silly with the ball, and I thought that was the difference right there.”


“Look, we don’t have anybody in the locker room that’s won a game in the postseason. So, if you think that’s going to happen with the snap of your fingers, that’s not the way it works. It’s a process. That’s why us playing in this tournament is terrific because you get to play a championship-level team, and you learn how hard March games are.” – Wojo


The Golden Eagles are 7-0 when holding opponents under 65 points or less this season.


Marquette will square off against Oregon in the second round of the NIT Sunday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CST. The Ducks won their first matchup against Rider 99-86.

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