Effective ball distribution, 3-point shooting end in 21-point victory over Georgetown

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Photo by Zach Bukowski

Jamal Cain (23) scored 10 points by halftime in Marquette's victory Wednesday night.

Jack Phillips

Following an upset at Providence Saturday, Marquette men’s basketball snapped a three-game losing streak at Fiserv Forum Wednesday night defeating Georgetown 93-72.

“We just try to remind ourselves everyday what our goals are and once we got that and got our heads back together, we were able to respond tonight like how we did,” junior guard Jamal Cain said.

Prior to the game, Marquette held a moment of silence for the victims of the Molson Coors shooting from earlier today. This is the third game at Fiserv Forum — and second consecutive — where a moment of silence was held.

“It seems like, in the last couple weeks, there’s just been so many things that put the game of basketball in perspective,” Marquette Men’ basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I would just like to offer my thoughts and prayers to all the victims and those affected by the unimaginable tragedy that happened at Molson Coors. … Hopefully Milwaukee can rally around all those affected by it and give them support during this tragedy.”

From the start the Golden Eagles came out hot, scoring the first seven points of the game.

“With the three-game losing streak we had, we just focused more having a fast start and just trying to get our guys going early,” Cain said. “That was our main goal tonight.”

The Hoyas, however, were playing without star guard Mac McClung and center Omer Yurtseven, who each scored 20 points in the last game against Marquette.

“When your two best players are not there, it’s hard to generate offense. But my guys, they still didn’t give up,” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said.

With a 3-pointer at the 15:46 mark, Howard passed Golden State Warriors’ guard Stephen Curry and moved into the top 30 all-time NCAA scorers, which put MU up 10-4.

Two minutes later, after Howard and Symir Torrence drained 3-pointers in consecutive possessions, the Golden Eagles distanced themselves, possessing a 22-8 advantage.

Marquette had a strong remainder of the first half, never relinquishing the lead and forcing six GU turnovers. MU’s biggest margin of the first was when the team was up 38-18 with 3:39 remaining before halftime.

The Golden Eagles went into the break with a 43-32 lead, which was MU’s first advantage at half since Feb. 9 against Butler. Cain, along with Sacar Anim, led Marquette with 10 points each.

“It was the best we’ve worked together offensively in a number of games,” Wojciechowski said.

Though Howard had only seven points in the first half, he racked up 23 in the second. Not only was he the leading scorer with 30 points, he also contributed seven assists and six rebounds.

“Markus had a really complete game,” Wojciechowski said. “His presence, his poise tonight, how he allowed the game to come to him, his decision making, I thought all of those things were high-level. … To get 30 points on 16 shots is very hard to do, but the seven assists and two turnovers really stand out. He also had five rebounds. That’s the Markus that we’re going to need.”

Though Marquette allowed Georgetown to cut the deficit to 10 points within the first five minutes after the break, that didn’t last for long. The Golden Eagles went on a 17-3 run to put them up 68-44 with 11:30 remaining.

From then on, the Hoyas could not trim the lead to less than 16 points. Torrence, who hit the Golden Eagles’ 14th 3-pointer of the night at the 3:02 mark, gave MU its biggest lead of the night at 90-61.

Less than a minute later Wojciechowski replaced Howard and Anim and MU came out with a 93-72 victory.

“Any time you have 23 assists on 34 made baskets, that’s a very positive sign,” Wojciechowski said. “When you play connected better on the offensive end, you’re going to shoot better. I thought we were really connected and unselfish.”

The Golden Eagles were even more efficient offensively in the second half, shooting 66% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc.

“We built off of each other,” Torrence said. “Once one went in for somebody, then I knew it was definitely going in.”

Marquette made 14 3-pointers, compared to Georgetown’s seven.

“We played well defensively, but we gave them too many threes,” Ewing said. “Especially in the beginning of the game, that’s where they took the lead. We just didn’t get back and get them off the 3-point line.”

Four Golden Eagles ended in double figures: Howard with 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting, Anim and Cain each with 15 points and Brendan Bailey with 10 points. Jayce Johnson contributed a team-high 11 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench, while Theo John recorded two blocks.

“We play our best basketball when Jayce Johnson is a monster on the boards,” Wojciechowski said. “He was a monster on the boards tonight.”

Jagan Mosely led the Hoyas with a season-high 19 points, which was one shy of his career high. Jamorko Pickett and Mosely tied for a team-high six rebounds.

This win ended a three-game losing streak. Other than Creighton, all league teams have been on at least three-game losing streaks.

Marquette (18-9, 8-7 BIG EAST) hosts Seton Hall — the team that sits at the top of the conference — for Senior Day Saturday. Tipoff is set for 1:30. The Golden Eagles are now 13-2 at Fiserv Forum.

“With Seton Hall coming in, they’re a great team,” Cain said. “We’re just going to take our time back, get our bodies ready for this game because you know how important the game is.”

“Senior Night is always a special night,” Wojciechowski said. “They deserve the support of our fans. … Hopefully their peers come out and support them as they finish their tremendous careers here at Marquette.”

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