#1 - Sam Hauser is coming into his own
We all know that Sam Hauser is a pretty terrific basketball player. That’s been apparent from the last year and a half, if not longer and going back into his prep career. However, as good as Hauser has been, his impact has been minimized by his passiveness at times when deciding if to shoot or not. It looks like that is about to change if it has not already. On Monday night, coming off career-high tying 30 point outing, Hauser looked just as aggressive, if not more so as the other two members of Treys Amigos (Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey). After canning 5 of his 10 three point attempts last night, Hauser’s three point percentage is 49.6%, highest on the team by a pretty healthy margin. It’s not just that Hauser had another good shooting night, it is the fact that Hauser was shooting every time he got even an inch of space. That is the Sam Hauser this team needs going forward, I understand that he is a team player and wants everyone involved but Hauser is shooting at such a great clip, both inside and outside the arc, that it would be selfish for him to not take more shots. It seems that mentality has taken hold as Hauser has led Marquette in scoring the last two games and has taken 9.5 threes per game in the last two games compared to his season average of 6.3 attempts per game from deep.
#2 - The game is slowing down for Harry Froling and Theo John
Both of the younger big men on this team have seemed a little overwhelmed with the pace of play in high level college basketball in their first handful of games in blue and gold. However, against DePaul, both big men looked in control and comfortable which resulted in arguably the best games of their respective seasons. Froling rebounded the ball spectacularly, grabbing 7 boards in the first half and 9 total in the game (5 on the offensive end), all while playing under control on offense. He didn’t turn the ball over once, and was creating scoring opportunities with his great court vision and deft passing ability. The Harry Froling we saw on Monday night was the one that we (ok, more Wojo than us) signed up for and I am hoping he can build on this strong performance. Theo John was a beast against the Blue Demons, scoring a career high 11 points on 4-6 shooting. Not only did Theo put up very respectable numbers (three rebounds and a block, too), but he also looked the part. He finished with authority, played very tough defense, and managed to nearly crack the backboard on a shot he swatted away. Theo played his role to perfection, he dunked drop off passes, protected the rim, and made all of DePaul scared to come anywhere near his lane.
#3 - Marquette played good defense again!
For the second time in three games Marquette’s defense wasn’t as ugly as a hairless cat. I understand that DePaul’s offense is as ugly as a hairless cat but we’ve given up far more than 52 points to far lesser teams. It has become very obvious that the athleticism of the freshmen is the driving force behind our good defensive games. I can only imagine what Max Strus felt like being hounded by Greg Elliott and Jamal Cain for the better part of 40 minutes. I can tell you this much: Strus certainly didn’t feel like the NBA prospect that some have cracked him up to be. As my Uncle who I ran into at the game stated, “If Strus is an NBA prospect, then Hauser is a top 10 pick and I’m playing in the G-League next year.” In all seriousness, the length of Cain and Elliott not only forced Strus into a 3-14 shooting night but also really limited his looks from 3 with Strus shooting only 4 threes, about half his season average. I am not saying that Marquette will become a great or even competent defensive team but having two capable wing defenders who can also make an open three is huge when Markus Howard and/or Andrew Rowsey are out of the game for extended periods with foul trouble. Good defense is contagious and hopefully the freshmen’s defense will rub off on some of the other players. Hell, in the postgame interview Coach Wojo gave Andrew Rowsey a shoutout for his defense. I’m pretty sure hell would have frozen over before I heard such a statement from Wojo.
#3.5 - Why on Earth do Marquette’s opponents never miss free throws?????
Against Marquette, teams hit 78% of their free throws… literally the third worst three throw “defense” in the country.... that’s insane… I’d prefer a little regression to the mean in the next two (or 12) games. Basketball Gods, do your thing.