Six takeaways from NIT Season Tip-Off

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Six takeaways from NIT Season Tip-Off

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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Marquette men’s basketball had mixed results in the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off, losing 77-68 to No. 2 Kansas Wednesday night and beating Louisville Friday 77-74 in overtime. Here are key takeaways from each game:

KANSAS 77, MARQUETTE 68

First half scoring proves to be unsustainable

It was a tale of two halves for the Golden Eagles, who were leading by 12 with two minutes remaining in the first half. Marquette made 11 3-pointers and shot 55 percent from the field at the break.

“We were so slow, and they were so quick and had us on our heels,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They’re so dangerous because everyone can shoot.”

Kansas made the right adjustments after halftime, limiting Marquette to just three 3-pointers on 10 attempts.

“I thought their pressure really pushed our offense out,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “We didn’t have the same flow, number of passes and sound decision making in the second half that we had in the first half.”

Chartouny continues to grow

With sophomore Greg Elliott still out with a thumb injury, graduate student Joseph Chartouny continues to have opportunities to grow. He had a season-high 28 minutes against Kansas.

“He continues to get more and more comfortable, and that’s a positive sign,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s never played a team like this and on a stage like this. He’s starting to get his legs under him which is good.”

Chartouny connected on his lone field goal of the game from behind the arc. He had a game-high eight assists.

Kansas big men give Golden Eagles foul trouble

Playing a team as tall and physical as Kansas, Marquette big men Ed Morrow, Theo John and Matt Heldt needed to play tough in the paint. However, Kansas forced Marquette’s big men into foul trouble, requiring Marquette to switch to a smaller lineup.

“In the first half, I thought we were really physical defensively, and they didn’t get many points at the rim,” Wojciechowski said. “They didn’t get easy baskets, dunks and layups, which they got in the second half. I didn’t think our defense had the same intensity to it.”

Morrow and John finished with four fouls, and Heldt finished with three. The trio combined for only 35 total minutes, making it easy for 6-foot-9 Kansas forward Dedric Lawson to get to the basket. The Jayhawks had a 40-16 advantage for points in the paint.

MARQUETTE 77, LOUSIVILLE 74

Golden Eagles complete comeback

The win against Louisville was not necessarily the most conventional. Marquette was down up to eight points and Louisville led for more than 33 minutes of the game before Marquette came back to win in overtime. The Golden Eagles shot 40 percent from the field.

“We won a game with our defense, and it’s nice to be able to say that,” Wojciechowski said.

Junior guard Markus Howard attributed the comeback to the team’s readiness in overtime.

“We practice it so much, so when it came to us in an overtime setting, I felt like us as a team really executed well and we really made plays,” Howard said.

Sam Hauser is ‘Mr. Reliable’

Junior forward Sam Hauser has emerged as a trusted and consistent scorer. Hauser was part of the Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team and made the Julius Erving Award Watch List. He averaged 21 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games at the NIT Season Tip-Off.

“Sam played great. He’s so pivotal to our team. He does pretty much everything,” Howard said. “We’re fortunate to have him on our team because he’s one of the best players in the country.”

Hauser also had six 3-pointers against Kansas, five of which were in the first half, and was a big part of Marquette’s early 12-point lead.

Important win for postseason resume

If Louisville made any of its three shots in the final position of regulation, Marquette would’ve lost three of its first five games. Instead, the Golden Eagles have their first quality win of the season.

Marquette also has challenging contests against No. 12 Kansas State and No. 24 Wisconsin looming in the next two weeks.

“Louisville will win a lot of games this year,” Wojciechowski said. “It was a huge win, and we won a game where offense didn’t come easy for us, so I think it was a real growth opportunity for our team.”

Wojciechowski said he adds extra value in a win against a Chris Mack-coached team. Mack was previously 7-2 against Marquette since Wojciechowski took over in 2014.

“I have the ultimate respect for Chris Mack,” Wojciechowski said. “Any time you play a Chris Mack-coached team, you know it’s going to be a fist fight. His kids play hard and they play tough and we knew that going in.”

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