Marquette eases past North Dakota with Howard’s 26-point performance

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Marquette eases past North Dakota with Howard’s 26-point performance

Photo by Tom Hillmeyer

Photo by Tom Hillmeyer

Photo by Tom Hillmeyer

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Junior guard Markus Howard didn’t exactly have the first nine minutes he was expecting. He was without a shot attempt and missed portions of the game with an apparent leg injury.

Fortunately for the Golden Eagles, that didn’t last long. Howard went off for 26 points to fuel Marquette’s 92-66 win over North Dakota.

Howard scored all 14 of Marquette’s points for a three-minute stretch in the first half. He had 19 points by halftime.

“Markus is a guy that is obviously very explosive, so he can have a stretch where he’s making the right basketball plays but isn’t getting many shots,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “And then he can have a stretch where opportunities present themselves, and when they do, he normally delivers.”

His scoring barrage continued through the first five minutes of the second half before slowing down with the game out of reach. North Dakota did not cut Marquette’s lead to fewer than 17 in the second half. The Golden Eagles’ largest lead over the Fighting Hawks was 30.

The Golden Eagles’ hot shooting was not exclusive to the junior guard from Chandler, Arizona. Despite a few shooting slumps in the second half, Marquette shot 59 percent from the field and 55 percent from long distance in the game.

Junior guard Sam Hauser was particularly dangerous as well, scoring 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting from long range.

Marquette’s 11 3-pointers helped space the floor and give space to redshirt junior forward Ed Morrow.

“When Sam and Joey, and Markus especially, space the floor as well as Sacar, I know that I have an opportunity to rebound,” Morrow said. “I know the ball is going up.”

Morrow was the only other player to finish in double digits, scoring 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting and gathering eight rebounds.

“Ed did a really good job of deep paint catches,” Wojciechowski said. “We had some really good post feeds, which is an area we’ve worked on. … He was a huge key to this win.”

Morrow said he simply attributed his success to sticking to the gameplan.

“The go-to for this game was to go inside,” Morrow said. “My teammates did a great job of looking inside for everyone in the post.”

Marquette once again struggled to hold on to the ball, turning the ball over 22 times. The Golden Eagles coughed up the ball 11 times in the first 11 minutes. Six Marquette players had at least two turnovers.

“There are areas where we have great room for improvement and growth,” Wojciechowski said. “Becoming a better ball-handling team is one of those areas.”

Marquette returns to Fiserv Forum Friday to host No. 14 Buffalo for the Golden Eagles’ third home game against a ranked opponent in three weeks.

“For the most part, given my experience with games after exam break, we did some good things,” Wojciechowski said. “Certainly we are going to have to do it a lot better coming up on Friday.”

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