Howard powers hot-shooting offense past brother’s alma mater

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Photo by John Steppe

Markus Howard (0) drives to the paint in Marquette’s 106-54 win over Central Arkansas Saturday afternoon.

Jack Phillips

Eight days after Markus and Jordan Howard became the No. 1 brother scoring duo in NCAA history, the Golden Eagles dominated Jordan’s alma mater, the Central Arkansas Bears, 106-54 Saturday afternoon at Fiserv Forum in Marquette’s final nonconference game for the 2019-’20 season.

The 52-point victory is the sixth-largest winning margin in program history and the biggest in head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s tenure. The last came Nov. 18, 2001, when Marquette beat Chicago State by 53 points.

“Obviously (we) played well, got a big lead and then to maintain that lead throughout the game with just a couple lulls here and there was a good performance for us,” Wojciechowski said.

It was all Markus early as he had 14 points in the first five minutes, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, all 3-pointers. With his first three, Markus passed Steve Novak for the all-time 3-point leader at MU.

As a team, Marquette’s offense was on fire and shot 80% from beyond the arc in the first five minutes. MU had a 21-point lead by the 9:46 mark in the opening half. That advantage only grew as the Bears could not stop the Golden Eagles’ hot shooting.

The Golden Eagles took charge of the first half, shooting 52% from the field including 8-for-14 from 3-point range along with six steals and eight assists.

MU went into halftime up 57-24. Markus, who had more points than the whole Bears team, sparked the offense with 25 points, three assists and two steals.

“We’ve been sharing the ball … and that’s working a lot for us,” Torrence said. “The more we share it, the happier we feel, the more fun we’re having on the court and the more wins we’re going to get.”

Central Arkansas had no answers for MU in the second half as the Golden Eagles controlled every facet of the game from shooting to pressure defense.

For the majority of the second half, Marquette shot 62% from the field, and Central Arkansas’ deficit was at least 47 points.

Meanwhile, nothing was going right for the Bears. UCA had struggled from beyond the arc in the first half, going 1-for-10. It did not get any better after the break, finishing 20% from 3-point range.

Markus exited the game a minute later with 30 points on 9-for-13 shooting, five 3-pointers, five assists and two steals.

“It’s about building habits. You never want to play the score,” Wojciechowski said. “You always want to be up 53 points. We take that every day. But the reality is, you need to build good habits and maintain habits in order to prepare yourself for what’s coming. And what’s coming is the gauntlet of the BIG EAST, the top conference in the country.”

Central Arkansas was plagued with foul trouble, ending the game with 27 personal fouls. Meanwhile, MU finished with 17.

Markus notched his fifth 30-point game of the season. Theo John had a season-high 12 points while Sacar Anim and Ed Morrow finished with 11 points each. Torrence, Brendan Bailey and Greg Elliott all put up nine points. Jamal Cain, who received his first start since November 2018 against Louisville, contributed eight.

Koby McEwen did not play due to a right thumb injury.

In 27 minutes off the bench, Torrence scored a career-best nine points, adding four assists and four rebounds.

“Coach just said we have to have more guys step up,” Torrence said. “My role didn’t change. … I’m a pass-first point guard. I get guys involved, and that’s what I’m going to do every time I get on court.”

Marquette (10-2) does not play again until 2020 as the Golden Eagles begin BIG EAST play in the new decade, traveling to Creighton Jan. 1. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.

The Golden Eagles head to Omaha, Nebraska, having won eight of their last nine games.

“This is a really (big) confidence booster,” Torrence said. “These games right here, we’re playing them to get ready for the BIG EAST.”

 

This story was written by Zoe Comerford. She can be reached at isabel.comerford@marquette.edu or on Twitter @zoe_comerford.