BASELINE: Johnson’s contributions on defense help Marquette beat DePaul

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Jayce Johnson (34) had 11 points and six rebounds in Marquette's win over DePaul Saturday.

Two days after securing their first overtime win of the season, Marquette men’s basketball returned home to take on I-94 rival DePaul, defeating the Blue Demons 76-72 at Fiserv Forum.

It was the Golden Eagles who overcame a six-point deficit at halftime and pulled out with the victory thanks to huge final minute free throws and strong defensive post presence. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Game MVP 

After just making two shots from the field in the first half, graduate student forward Jayce Johnson came out hot in the second, scoring six points. He also put up one rebound and showed big moments in the defensive post.

“I don’t think anyone was bigger in the win than him. He was awesome,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “If he is not on our team today, the mood in the locker room is a heck of a lot different.”

The seven-foot forward scored a career-high 11 points, shooting 5-for-5 from the field and 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. The Utah State transfer also put up six rebounds on the afternoon.

“He really stepped up big for us today,” senior guard Markus Howard said. “He has had a really good approach in the last couple of weeks. He is a big part of our bench play.”

Notes 

  • Markus Howard led the team with 31 points on 8-for-21 shooting and 5-for-15 from beyond the arc. This is the 10th time this season Howard has scored 30 or more points.
  • The Golden Eagles shot 29-for-35 from the free throw line.
  • The Blue Demons shot 51% from the field compared to the Golden Eagles 40%. Marquette also shot 23% from beyond the arc, while DePaul shot 20%.
  • DePaul scored 14 points off of Marquette’s 11 turnovers.
  • There were seven ties and three lead changes throughout the game. DePaul led for 32:07 of the 40 minutes.

Injury Update

Wednesday night against Xavier with 12:05 left to play in the second half, Howard sustained a hard shot to the nose taking him out for the remainder of the game.

The nation’s leading scorer wore a face mask against the Blue Demons Saturday afternoon. It was the first time in his career he had to play with a mask.

“It is a fracture in my nose,” Howard said. “It still hurts a little bit but it is one of those things that takes some time to heal. I will get some work on it next week.”

Marquette got back one of their key bench players this afternoon as well. Redshirt sophomore guard Greg Elliot, who has been sidelined since Jan. 7 with an ankle injury, was scoreless in seven minutes off the bench.

“Greg’s been such a fresh burst of life for us,” Howard said. “He’s going to get back healthy and contribute a lot for us.”

Quote of the Day 

Walking up for his post-game press conference, there was a shorter person than usual besides Wojciechowski’s side, his son Charlie.

“I have my little guy up here because when he comes to games alone, he is undefeated, ” Wojciechowski said. “That is what he reminded me.”

Up Next 

Marquette (16-6, 6-4 BIG EAST) returns to Fiserv Forum to host No. 16 Butler Feb. 9 on National Marquette Day. Tipoff is slated for 11 a.m.