Marquette hangs on against New Hampshire for 75-70 win

Redshirt+first-year+forward+Justin+Lewis+drives+through+the+paint+looking+to+score+in+Marquettes+75-70+win+over+New+Hampshire+Nov.12.+

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis drives through the paint looking to score in Marquette’s 75-70 win over New Hampshire Nov.12.

After defeating Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in their season opener on Tuesday, Marquette once again found themselves in a tight matchup Friday night against New Hampshire.

For the second straight game, Marquette pulled out a win with timely shots down the stretch feating New Hampshire 75-70 at Fiserv Forum.

Despite shooting just 3-for-16 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Golden Eagles led by five going into halftime.

It was a sloppy first half, with both teams shooting below 35% from the field. In addition, Marquette had five turnovers compared to seven turnovers for New Hampshire.

Shooting struggles continued in the second half, but graduate student guard Darryl Morsell stepped up for the Golden Eagles when needed scoring 19 points in the final 20 minutes.

At halftime Morsell had just seven points. He finished with a career-high 26 on 8-for-12 shooting and also collected five assists and three rebounds.

“For him to play such an efficient game offensively, you can’t ask much more from him,” Marquette men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart said. “He really dug in and gave great effort. Got in the paint, got fouled, made all his free throws and shot the ball well from three.”

Despite the play from Morsell in the second half, New Hampshire was still in this game with less than a minute to go. Senior forward Nick Guadarrama hit a 3-pointer to bring the Wildcats within one with just 27.2 seconds on the clock.

Then, redshirt first-year Justin Lewis stepped up and closed out the win for the Golden Eagles. Lewis hit two free throws at the line to put Marquette up by three followed by getting the defensive stop plus the rebound on the other end.

“I’m proud of Justin. He’s 19 years-old and he’s just made incredible growth,” Smart said. “The good thing is, he’s still got so much room for growth.”

Lewis finished with 17 points on 5-for-11 shooting while also collecting 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double to start the season.

“Justin is capable of that every single time he steps on the floor,” redshirt first-year forward Oso Ighodaro said. “He’s so talented, so strong, so physical and that’s something we need him to do every single night for us to win.”

Ighodaro was also key on the boards tonight, finishing with a team-high and career-high 12 rebounds. He also finished with a steal and two blocks plus three points, making the only shot he attempted and a free throw.

“We got a lot of stops in the first half but then giving up offensive rebounds so we were trying to make sure to box out and finish possessions,” Ighodaro said. “I just tried to step up and help my team out.”

Smart also acknowledged the play from his second-year forward down in the post and how key it was to tonight’s win.

“I can’t say enough about Oso keeping balls alive on the offensive-end and buying us extra shots,” Smart said. “Sometimes early in the year teams are slow to react to the ball. We got way better at it in the second half.”

The forwards tonight were challenged by 6’7” senior forward Jayden Martinez, who finished with a team-high 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting along with eight rebounds and two assists for the Wildcats.

“He’s a long player that can put it on the ground and do everything,” Ighodaro said. “We tried to make it difficult for him and give him different looks but he’s a talented player.”

The Golden Eagles were also challenged by their poor shooting, as they finished the game 7-for-29 from beyond the arc and shot just 41% on the night.

“When a team makes 12 threes on you and you have a tough shooting night, then you have to find a way to win a game that’s not the prettiest game,” Smart said. “A lot of good shooters were taking good shots, so i’ll live with those. We just need to do what we practice and not get brand new during the game.”

The win pushes the Golden Eagles to 2-0 to start the season ahead of their next matchup against No. 11 ranked Illinois on Monday at Fiserv Forum. That game, a part of the “Gavitt Tipoff Games,” tips off at 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time on FS1.

This story was written by Matthew Yeazel. You can reach him at matthew.Yeazel at Marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel.