Faced with a second straight home game against a top 70 opponent, Marquette was presented with the risk of running their non-conference record into serious trouble with a loss.
No worries, Marquette has Markus Howard.
The sophomore from Arizona knocked down 11 of his 20 field goal attempts, including six of 11 from long range on his way to 34 points to lead the Golden Eagles past Vermont on Tuesday night. Marquette is now 6-3 on the season heading into Saturday’s tilt against Wisconsin.
As you might expect from a team that went undefeated in America East play last season and gave Purdue a run for their money in last year’s NCAA tournament, Vermont gave Marquette everything that they could throw at them for 36 minutes. It was a highly competitive contest, but to Marquette’s credit, after Everett Duncan cracked the ice with a triple on the first shot of the game, the Golden Eagles never trailed again. Howard turned around and answered Duncan on the other end, and a bucket from Matt Heldt on MU’s next possession put MU front for good.
The lead only fluttered past two possessions a few times here and there in the first half, and Marquette exploded out on a 10-0 run to open the second half to turn their one point halftime lead into a double digit advantage. Vermont answered with a 13-4 blast of their own, and we were back to a two point game.
Vermont wouldn’t go away, but like we said: Marquette has Markus Howard and Vermont does not. Howard scored 14 of his points from that point on to push the Golden Eagles forward, and it was a three-pointer from Sam Hauser that provided a dagger with just under four minutes to play. That put Marquette up 87-76, and Vermont would not challenge again.
Marquette’s defense has been an ongoing discussion point this season, and the Golden Eagles turned in a quality effort here. They held UVM to just 48% shooting overall, and yes, the Catamounts did connect on 13 of their 29 three-point attempts, but MU’s interior defense held strong, allowing just 50% shooting on two-point attempts, which is a massive achievement for this squad. The two big focal points had to be Trae Bell-Haynes and Anthony Lamb, and MU limited them to 18 points combined.
We have to check in with Andrew Rowsey, who struggled mightily in the loss to Georgia. The redshirt senior had just one turnover tonight and looked to be in much better control of his game than that. He also shot 4-of-9 to score 13 points, grabbed three rebounds, and dished a game high 10 assists to record his first double-double in a Marquette uniform. That’s one hell of a bounce-back game, y’all.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: On Saturday, Marquette will drive west on I-94 to take on Wisconsin. The Badgers are just 4-5 on the season after defeating Penn State by just one point on Monday night.