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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Turnovers, foul trouble sink No. 10 Marquette against Creighton

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Holding an opponent to 40-percent shooting from the field and 30-percent shooting from the perimeter is usually enough to win a game.

“If you would have told me this morning that we would’ve held Creighton to 66 points, I would’ve thought we’d have a great chance to win,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said.

But the Golden Eagles could not get past their inability to hold onto the ball and stay out of foul trouble, suffering a 66-60 upset against the Creighton Bluejays at Fiserv Forum Sunday.

Turnovers proved to be problematic from the opening whistle. Five of MU’s first six possessions resulted in turnovers. The Golden Eagles committed seven turnovers in the first nine minutes.

“We took a very high-powered offense in Marquette and really executed our defensive game plan almost to perfection,” Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said. “Our rotations and our activity with our hands knocking those balls loose and forcing turnovers was a big part of the game.”

McDermott attributed many of the turnovers to his team’s trap defense in the post.

“With their traps, it makes running offense harder,” Wojciechowski said. “If somebody makes running offense harder on you, you have to be stronger (and) you have to be more fundamentally sound.”

“It’s definitely something we scouted. We just need to execute that better,” junior guard Markus Howard said. “Guys off the ball weren’t really moving.”

Meanwhile, sophomore Theo John and redshirt junior Ed Morrow were in foul trouble for much of the game. They each picked up their second fouls in the first half.

“Foul trouble is part of the game,” Wojciechowski said. “Whether it’s hard or not (to play with foul trouble), in order to win in March, you need to do hard things.”

Howard scored 21 consecutive points in the first half, which kept Marquette in the game. He finished with 33 points. The Golden Eagles held the lead for most of the second half.

“It was just what the game called for,” Howard said. “I had to be aggressive.”

But like the rest of Marquette’s offense, Howard was silent for large stretches of the game.

He went almost eight minutes without any scoring to start the first half and more than nine minutes without scoring in the second half.

Howard said Creighton’s defense wasn’t significantly different from others he’s seen. The problem was with the execution. Wojciechowski and Howard both described the loss as “self-inflicted.”

“We didn’t really have any energy or life from the beginning of the game to the end,” Howard said. “We can’t have that, especially in March.”

Howard’s performance helped him surpass Andrew Rowsey and Dwyane Wade as the program’s record holder for points in a single season.

The rest of Marquette’s offense was significantly worse. The Golden Eagles averaged 0.896 points per possession, and no player other than Howard finished with more than seven points. Howard outscored all of his teammates combined.

Outside of Howard, the Golden Eagles shot 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range. 

Meanwhile, Creighton’s Martin Krampelj finished with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

Wojciechowski took full responsibility for the loss.

“It is completely and totally me,” Wojciechowski said. “Don’t be asking my players what went wrong. It was on me. … I have to do a better job. Period.”

Marquette (23-6, 13-3 BIG EAST) needs to win against Seton Hall on Wednesday and Georgetown on Saturday to ensure having a share of the BIG EAST regular season title.

The Golden Eagles no longer control their own destiny with conference seeding. Villanova needs to lose Saturday for Marquette to have a chance at the top seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.

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