Howard’s record-breaking day fuels win over No. 12 Kansas State

Not even an illness could stop Markus Howard from setting program records Saturday afternoon.

The junior point guard scored 45 points to give Marquette its first win over a ranked opponent this season, an 83-71 victory over No. 12 Kansas State despite what he described as “food poisoning.”

It was the most points in regulation and in any home game in program history.

“He hasn’t been able to practice. We didn’t know what to expect,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I’ll take it. He might not practice the rest of the season.”

Howard was clinical from the field, hitting 11 of 17 shots. He shot 40 percent from long range, but that only accounted for 12 of his 45 points.

“He was born to score,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s a very unique player.”

Howard did the rest of his damage from the charity stripe, going 19 for 21 from the free throw line.

He set the program record for free throws made, but kicked himself for the two misses afterward.

He was seven points short of matching his own program record for points in a game, which he set last year at Providence with 52 points.

The junior accomplished the feat with only one assist.

“We should’ve made him pass it and didn’t,” Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said. “To his credit, he was able to wheel and deal and continue to make plays.”

Weber suggested the Wildcats were too focused on shutting down the 3-point shot to hone in on the paint. 

“I thought we were worried about the threes, and maybe too much,” Weber said.

Howard’s performance was not perfect, though. He had at least four turnovers for the fourth time this season.

The Chandler, Arizona, native had a strong supporting cast as well. Sacar Anim had a season-high 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting.

“Because we have guys that can really shoot, the floor is more open than it would be if he was playing for somebody else,” Wojciechowski said. “There are other pieces that allow him to be able to take advantage of those things.”

Additionally, four different players had at least five rebounds. The Golden Eagles finished with a 34-25 rebounding advantage.

Meanwhile, Marquette had possibly its best defensive showing of the season in the first half, holding Kansas State without a field goal for more than 10 minutes.

The Wildcats shot 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from three before halftime.

“I was really proud of the defense our team played today,” Wojciechowski said. “After kind of feeling our way out the first minute or two, our guys really played outstanding defense.”

In the second half, Kansas State had limited options when senior Dean Wade and junior Makol Mawien fouled out.

Wade and fellow Kansas State star Barry Brown combined for 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. They average a combined 32.9 points per game.

On average, there was a foul call every 45 seconds. Marquette and Kansas State attempted a combined 67 free throws.

“Going in, we knew it was going to be a physical game,” Anim said. “They crash the boards a lot.”

The Golden Eagles took advantage of the officiating style, hitting 75 percent of free throws. The Wildcats made 61 percent of their free throws and combined to have as many free throws made as Markus Howard.

Saturday’s victory is the seventh time a Wojciechowski-led Marquette team defeated a ranked opponent.

Marquette will have a few opportunities for its eighth win against a ranked opponent, hosting No. 24 Wisconsin next Saturday and No. 21 Buffalo Dec. 21.

In the meantime, Wojciechowski will have to settle beef with his star guard.

“I am mad at him because he gave me his flu,” Wojciechowski said.