Sam Hauser and Markus Howard combined for 34 points, including 23 in the second half, as Marquette fended off a Georgia rally and picked up the 89-79 victory down in Athens on Sunday.
Marquette moves to 6-2 on the season, with a 2-0 record against teams hailing from the SEC.
The Golden Eagles had a 10 point lead before the midway point the first half, largely because they hit their first six three pointers of the game. In fact, it was a triple from Duane Wilson that first pushed them into double digit territory. Turnovers kept mounting - MU finished the first half with nine - and Luke Fischer and Sam Hauser tallying three fouls each started taking their toll, and things shifted on Marquette. Georgia ended up tying it for the first time since 8-8 on two freebies off Fischer’s third foul, and MU had few answers for Yante Maten as a result of those fouls, as he went for 15 points and three rebounds in the first half. MU found some elbow room late, with Katin Reinhardt draining a pair from the stripe pushing the lead to five, but a J.J. Frazier bucket for the Bulldogs turned into a 46-43 game at the half.
The two teams traded buckets to open the second half, and then BOOM: a 13-1 run capped off by a Fischer tip-in jammed the lead to 16 with 14:27 to play. And then, like someone flipped a switch, the game tilted in Georgia’s favor. The Bulldogs went on a 21-7 run as Marquette missed nine of their next 12 shots, and two free throws from William Jackson II cut the margin to just two points at 72-70 with just over seven minutes left.
Thankfully for all of our blood pressures, that’s as close as Georgia would get. Hauser answered Jackson’s freebies to kick off an 11-0 run over the next two and a half minutes. That made it 83-70, and pretty much ended the competitive portion of the game. Yeah, there was 4:29 left, but Georgia didn’t get the lead back under 10 until a jumper from Maten cut it to eight with 51 seconds left. Pairs of free throws from Reinhardt and Howard iced away whatever slim chance the Bulldogs had left.
As expected, Maten and Frazier carried the load for Georgia. Maten finished with 24 points and six rebounds, while Frazier went for 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Marquette answered with three players in double-digits, including 15 from Howard and a team high 19 from Hauser. Hauser also grabbed six rebounds and played pretty solid “SHIT I CAN’T FOUL ANYONE” defense in his 17 second half minutes. Jajuan Johnson went for one of the more quiet double-doubles you’ll ever see, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Up Next: It’s a quick turnaround for the Golden Eagles, who will host Fresno State on Tuesday night. The Mountain West Bulldogs are 5-2 on the season after an overtime win on the road against Drake on Saturday.