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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

RECAP: Marquette runs past Oregon, advances to NIT quarterfinals

Photo by Brendan Ploen
Andrew Rowsey watches a 3-pointer in Marquette’s 101-92 second round win in the NIT. The senior finished with 29 points and nine assists.

Between his long-range bombs and his sharp passing, Andrew Rowsey played like a senior that didn’t want the season to be over.

Rowsey poured in 29 points on six 3-pointers, tying a Marquette career-high, and dropped 20 assists to power Marquette to a 101-92 win over the Oregon Ducks in the NIT’s second round.

An opening salvo of seven points from Oregon sophomore guard Payton Pritchard made it seem as though the game would come down to a scoring battle between the Ducks’ and Golden Eagles’ leading bucket-getters. Instead, Pritchard scored only nine more points for the rest of the game.

“Our guys are playing hard on the defensive end,” said head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “That’s growth and that’s something I like to see.”

Rowsey, on the other hand, was just getting started. With 4:42 left in the first quarter, Rowsey drained a long-range shot to put Marquette up 15-11. Two Marquette possessions later, he positioned himself behind an off-ball screen and buried another 3-pointer while getting fouled. Next possession, Rowsey hit another three.

By the end of the first quarter, the Lexington, Virginia native had 16 points and Marquette already held a 30-19 lead, which opened up the offense for other scorers.

“When a guy alone has 16 points in the first quarter, it kind of opens everything up for everybody else,” Sophomore guard Markus Howard said. “He was on a roll and we loved it.”

Oregon’s defense keyed in on Rowsey after that initial explosion, which gave the senior guard a chance to show off his passing. He was on the distributing end of two alley-oops, one to wing Jamal Cain and one to freshman forward Theo John. On the latter play, Rowsey split two Oregon defenders on a backcourt trap, drove the lane and tossed the ball up to John while falling down.

“We knew we had to come out and get the ball moving because they throw a lot of defenses at you,” Rowsey said. “For us, it was just breaking their defense and getting our shots.”

Even with Rowsey’s scoring somewhat subdued after the first quarter, the Golden Eagle offense kept right on clicking. An 8-2 run to open the second quarter put Marquette up by 17 points. The Golden Eagle led 58-38 at halftime. It was Marquette’s largest halftime lead since beating DePaul Jan. 15.

Oregon certainly didn’t help its cause by repeatedly turning the ball over. By game’s end, the Ducks logged 13 giveaways. It wasn’t the Ducks’ quantity of turnovers that really sunk them; rather, it was their inability to get back in transition. Marquette turned those 13 turnovers into 30 points, which equates to 2.3 points per possession.

“We wanted to be in attack mode,” Wojo said. “That’s the mindset that we had coming into this game and we knew they liked to press and we knew they liked to force turnovers. We wanted to attack them and we did that for a majority of the game.”

Howard was second on the team in scoring with 18 points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter. Howard was not the only Golden Eagle to foul out as center Matt Heldt and forward Sacar Anim did as well but not before scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds.

For Howard, the game had personal significance. He’d played club basketball with Oregon’s Troy Brown since both players were in middle school.

“We were talking throughout the game,” Howard said. “We’re like our biggest supporters of each other and we want each other to do good. We were trying to pump each other up.”

Free throws allowed the Ducks to edge back into the game, especially in the second half. Marquette committed 27 personal fouls, off of which Oregon shot 34 free throws. Duck senior Mickyle McIntosh scored 13 of his 21 points from the line.

Paul White, who transferred to Oregon from Georgetown last season, scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. As a team, Oregon shot 53.7 percent from the field, just a hair under Marquette’s 57.6 percent.

The win means Marquette will move on to the consolation tournament’s Elite Eight, where they will play the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday. Marquette last played in the NIT quarterfinals in 2004 under Tom Crean in the year after Dwyane Wade led Marquette to the Final Four and later left for the NBA.

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