SAM MOTHERF***ING HAUSER
It is no secret that I love Sam Hauser (see my tweet about how I’m naming my first child Samuel Hauser Newberry). But this was definitely one of his best games. He had 29 points on 8 made shots including being 7-of-9 from three. He was perfect from the free throw line (6-6), grabbed 4 rebounds, and had 5 assists. He’s one of the three best defenders on this team. I’d make an argument that he’s the most important player to this team, but that might be subjective. He’s easily the most versatile player in the lineup and he makes everybody better when he’s out on the court. With conference play looming, look out for him. He has the potential to be one of the best players in the Big East.
So he had a couple turnovers and some weird passes. Can’t blame the big Aussie for getting excited in his first Marquette game with real extended minutes. But boy, Harry Froling has arrived. I might be way more excited about a 9 point game from him than most people, but from what I saw, he’s a matchup nightmare. He didn’t shoot that well from 3 (1-5, but we still got one #FromWayDownUnder), but every shot he took was open, AND he created his own offense by facing up and going to the hoop, backing down defenders, and finding smart passes from the post to an (admittedly hot shooting) open Sam Hauser. He made 3 of 4 from 2 point range and nabbed 7 rebounds and dished four assists to go with his 9 points. He’s going to be an issue for defenders once he’s worked the rust all the way off. He brings a skill set that none of the other Marquette bigs have and it’ll be fun to watch him find ways to score against elite Big East competition.
The Marquette Defense is Fine. R-E-L-A-X.
No, seriously, trust me, the Marquette defense will be fine. Sure, it’s not an elite defense like (shudders) Virginia or anything, but they’ll be able to at least deal with what is thrown at them come Big East play. Sacar Anim, Jamal Cain, Greg Elliott, and Hauser are a solid backbone to build the defense off of, and both Sacar and Greg can at least run with the best players on most teams that Marquette will see come conference season. Sure, there will be elite scorers that we can’t 100% stop from scoring, but Marquette will still have players to throw at them to at least slow them down. I’m not predicting some revelation or a miracle, but considering we kept a subpar opponent (American, obvs.) to only 51 points AND had our best game against the 2 point shot (only allowing 8 of 21 (38%)), AND we had 10 steals, we can at least keep dangerous teams within range for our offense to catch up to. We were never going to be elite defensively, not with this much dependence on five guys with almost no collegiate experience between them, but as long as we keep games in range for our shooters, we’ll be fine. And I can at least anticipate that.