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Hot start from Howard fuels Marquette in 43-point win over Southern

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Hot start from Howard fuels Marquette in 43-point win over Southern

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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Not even a week off from games could cool off junior guard Markus Howard, who scored 23 points before halftime en route to Marquette’s 84-41 win over Southern, one week after scoring 45 against No. 14 Buffalo.

“He’s having an incredible shooting run here,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said.

Howard dominated right from tipoff, scoring 23 points in his first 11 minutes on the floor. He had all of Marquette’s scoring for almost five minutes in the first half, single-handedly fueling a 15-2 run.

“Markus is obviously an unbelievable player,” senior walk-on Cam Marotta said. “He’s on quite a streak right now. It’s really fun watching him play.”

Howard accounted for 23 of the Golden Eagles’ 48 points and eight of Marquette’s 15 field goals in the first half. He had no assists, and no other player had more than six points in the first half.

“When he gets going like that, honestly just get out of the way,” redshirt junior Sacar Anim said. “He’s already a terrific player. Let him do his thing.”

The junior guard did not miss a shot until the 16:36 mark in the second half. He finished with 26 points despite playing only five minutes in the second half.

He shot 9-for-10 from the field and 6-for-6 from the perimeter. His 9-for-9 shooting start was one field goal short of tying a program record.

The Jaguars had the lead for 58 seconds, and the game was tied for 15 seconds. The Golden Eagles’ largest lead was 43 points, which was a result of Marotta’s three with nine seconds left.

“It was good to see one go in,” Marotta said.

Southern shot only 26 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers. It was only three more turnovers than Marquette suffered, but the Golden Eagles outscored the Jaguars 22-6 off turnovers.

The Golden Eagles took advantage of the Jaguars’ lack of size, finishing the night with a 53-25 rebounding advantage and a 34-16 advantage in points in the paint.

With Howard playing a smaller role in the second half, Marquette shot 12-for-30 after intermission. Despite the subpar efficiency, every scholarship player scored Friday night.

“When (some of the bench players) come into the game, if they’re able to make an impact defensively and rebounding and take smart shots, that’s a really positive development for our team,” Wojciechowski said.

Junior forward Sam Hauser was a rebound short of a double-double, scoring 10 points and nine rebounds.

“(Howard) and Sam (Hauser), those two guys especially have provided great leadership on a day-to-day basis along with Matt Heldt,” Wojciechowski said.

The win extends Marquette’s winning streak to eight games and moves Marquette’s record at Fiserv Forum to 10-0.

“We haven’t played in a while,” Anim said. “Getting that chemistry back and getting our offense and defense flowing.”

Marquette will play its first true road game since Nov. 14 Tuesday at St. John’s. The Red Storm is one of five undefeated teams remaining in college basketball but is not ranked.

“(St. John’s is) hot right now obviously,” Anim said. “I know they play five guards now, so it’s definitely going to be a battle.”

The last time Marquette had a true road game, the Golden Eagles lost by 23 at Indiana.

“I’m ready to get on the road,” Anim said. “We really need to bounce back from (the Indiana loss), learn from that game and go into St. John’s and get the win.”

Wojciechowski summed up Anim’s argument in 11 words.

“Plain and simple, we have to be better on the road,” Wojciechowski said.

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

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