I mean, wow.
Wow wow wow.
YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles pounded, shellacked and utterly devastated the Lisconsin Badgers by a score of 82-63. IN THE KOHL CENTER.
Marquette was paced in scoring by Andrew Rowsey, who had 24 points, to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. But the stats don’t tell the story. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Marquette started the game hot, going 11-for-17 out of the gate, including 5-6 from beyond the arc to go up 28-11. The defense was excellent early on, effectively doubling Ethan Happ down low with Matt Heldt and either Sam Hauser or Sacar Anim, which forced Happ to get rid of it or turn it over (which he did five times). They were active, in-your-face, and quick to recover or close out on shooters. It was a taste of the team’s defensive ceiling. However, sometimes they were a little too intense. With 12 minutes remaining in the first half, Rowsey committed a foul and then shoved a Lisconsin player, getting T’d up. The tech was also his second personal foul, and he picked up shi third foul with 8 minutes left, so he sat the rest of the half. I was a little bit worried. Obviously, Rowsey is a huge key to the offense shooting-wise, but he’s been a great passer recently. There was one moment where he actually passed up #TheThing and used his head fake to draw the Lisconsin defender up and made an easy pass to Heldt for a dunk. So when he got his third foul only eight minutes into the game, yeah, I was a little nervous Marquette would have to force some things. Silly me. I completely forgot that Marquette also has Markus Howard!
Howard stepped up big time with Rowsey on the bench, despite #0 having a couple fouls of his own right around when Rowsey went to the bench. He scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half, and hit a big shot seemingly every time Lisconsin began to crawl back into it. Of course, not even Marquette can continue shooting at such a hot rate, so as they cooled down, the Badgers began to slowly and methodically (they’re just so boring) cut into the lead.
Now, I’ve been around long enough to know that no lead against the Badgers is safe. They’ll break you, and they’ll make you watch a horribly ugly game while doing it. A lot of their points came from the foul line, as Marquette’s tenacious defense combined with the disciplined offense of the Badgers made for a lot of fouls on MU (as evidenced by Rowsey and Howard), so much so that the red team was in the bonus after just 10 minutes. Luckily, Howard’s hot shooting and some timely 3’s from Hauser kept the Band-Aid™ on to keep the lead at 9 going into the half.
Then Andrew Rowsey went bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Because he was so fired up in the first half, I’m sure Wojo would’ve liked to keep him on the bench a little bit longer to let him settle down, but once Lisconsin cut the lead to 6 almost immediately after the break, he had no choice but to put Rowsey back in the game and pray that he would play within himself.
And my God, did he.
Rowsey hit a 3 almost immediately after checking in, and went on to score the next eight points for Marquette. He had 18 points in a span of 7 minutes, including one #TheThing, and he actually didn’t even score again after 10:43 were left on the clock. He hit a trey on an assist from Howard, and as he got back on defense, he tapped his invisible watch, as if to say, “I don’t have on a watch, but if I did, the time would say ‘NOT LISCONSIN’S TIME,’” or something like that. From then on, Howard and Hauser did most of the scoring for Marquette, but it didn’t matter. The Badgers were already buried. The lead was 19 when Rowsey scored his last points, and it didn’t get too much closer after that. The defense did a good job of damage control, and Marquette scored at a steady pace to close it out. And oh, how sweet it was.
Player of the Game: The Splash Brothers (Marquette’s version, at least). Howard and Rowsey were the stars of the first and second half, respectively, and Hauser was steadfast in a supporting role, stepping up with a big shot whenever one was needed (he finished with 16). We say it all the time, but when these guys are hitting their shots, they’re nearly unstoppable.
Play of the Game: Hauser, about halfway through the first half, drilled a three off a Greg Elliott assist. On Lisconsin’s ensuing possession, he stole the ball and instead of driving right to the cup, he pulled up at the top of the key and splashed one in front of the entire Kohl Center, putting Marquette up 17 and forcing Greg Gard to call a timeout. Why is this the play of the game? Well, Sam Hauser picked Marquette over Lisconsin. That’s why.
There were plenty of great plays in this game, though, so here’s a whole highlight real, courtesy of the official team Twitter account:
Up Next: The Golden Eagles have a good nine days between now and they’re next matchup, a Monday night meeting with the Northern Illinois Huskies. You may be thinking “oh, easy win, maybe I’ll tune in,” but what if I told you that this’ll be the first on-court appearance for the one, the only, the Thunder From Down Under, Harry Froling? We’ll see you then.