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Marquette vs Northern Illinois: Three Things We Learned

Some good, some bad, and some worrisome.

Marquette men’s basketball
Wojo isn’t quite ready to give Harry Froling playing time with the game on the line.

#1- Marquette Can Win Games in Which They Do Not Shoot the Lights Out

We all know that your Marquette Golden Eagles can shoot the lights out. Between Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, and Sam Hauser, they have three of the best shooters in the country. However, last night Marquette did not shoot the ball very well. MU finished with a 30% mark on threes and an effective field goal percentage of just 49.2%. They got open looks as evidenced by the 23 triples hoisted by Hauser and Howard combined, however, they did not finish them. Howard, Rowsey, and Hauser all missed wide open threes and a few others that were only slightly contested. This is actually a good thing in a roundabout kind of way. Marquette needs to learn how to win when shots are not falling. We won’t beat Villinova without stroking the ball, but in order to make the NCAA tournament, we can’t lose to DePaul or (Gulp) Georgetown. If an off shooting night coincides with playing either of those teams, Marquette must be able to win without overpowering opponents offensively, as they did last night. I understand that Northern Illinois isn't an offensive powerhouse, but the fact that Marquette won that game on the defensive end, allowing just 21 points over the last 15 minutes, is encouraging.

#2- Harry Froling Needs to Earn Wojo’s Trust

Last night was hyped up as the debut of 6’ 11” C/PF Harry Froling, a transfer student from SMU who was born and raised in Australia. His debut was particularly quiet as he only recorded two rebounds, one foul, and a turnover in three minutes of action, all in the first half. To take any of this as a barometer of what Froling will do for the team during the BIG EAST season would be folly. Last night head coach Steve Wojciechowski made it clear that, although he is high on Froling’s future, playing time must be earned and since Froling hasn't played in a collegiate game in just over a year, he will have to start from zero. Earlier in the year, Wojo did mention that he views Sacar Anim as a freshman and it would not be a stretch that Wojo views Froling in a similar light. I have no doubts that Froling will be a big piece going forward, but he clearly needs to get acclimated to playing for Marquette in live situations. That may take a handful of games, so don’t expect him to come into BIG EAST play and start getting 20 minutes a game all of a sudden.

#3- Andrew Rowsey Got Hurt

There were a couple things I could have picked here, Theo John had a good game, Jamal Cain had some nice plays, Marquette run a little bit of a three-quarter court trap to slow the game, but these are all small potatoes compared to the fact that Andrew Rowsey went down in the second half after having his calf stepped on at an awkward angle. Originally it looked like just a slightly sprained ankle, however, the fact that there has been no announcement as of yet about the injury makes me think that its not just a sprained ankle. No matter what the injury is, it is not good for Marquette as Rowsey has been the primary point guard this season and leg injuries are especially tough to shake for jump shooters. I would not be surprised if we see Markus Howard taking over the primary point guard duties against American on Thursday as there’s no reason to expect Rowsey to play on such a quick turn around even if the injury is ultimately minor.