Powered by 13 points, two rebounds, six assists and seven friggin steals from Joseph Chartouny, Marquette preserved their unbeaten record at Fiserv Forum with a 76-55 victory over Charleston Southern on Tuesday night. Marquette is now 5-2 on the year and an absolutely delightful 4-0 in their brand new downtown Milwaukee home.
The final score tells you that this game wasn’t particularly competitive by the time things wound down, and that’s accurate. The Golden Eagles were up at least 20 points for all but about 20 seconds of the final 12 minutes of this game, with Christian Keeling cutting the lead to 19 twice in the final 2:30. Marquette answered both times and that was that.
However, the first half was a little bit more of a bumpy ride. The Golden Eagles committed 10 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, and while they had been up around double digits for a lot of it, head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s frustrations with his team were evident with about three minutes left in the half. The Golden Eagles had given up a 7-0 run in about two minutes of game time that featured two fouls by Theo John and a faulty pass by Chartouny. The lead was suddenly just four, and Wojo had seen enough. He called timeout in about as furious a manner as you can possibly call a timeout and proceeded to read his team the riot act. This tonguelashing was a long time coming in this game, as Wojo had spent most of the first 17 minutes of the game noticeably frustrated with pretty every aspect of how Marquette was playing.
Whatever he said to them in the huddle worked, as MU closed the half on a 6-0 run and then scored the first five points of the second half as well. I don’t know what he said, and it’s one of those situations where no one will ever actually say what he said. I will say that if you’re having to implore your squad to play with a particular energy or enthusiasm (if that’s what he was doing) in Game #7 of the season, there’s probably a lot bigger questions to be asking.
In any case, the Golden Eagles seized control of things from that timeout onwards, and ended up out-performing both Vegas’ line and KenPom.com’s prediction in terms of margin of victory. Can’t really ask for more than that.
Circling back to Chartouny, he was really great in this game, pulling out five of his steals in the first half. He had just one swipe on the season coming into this game, and considering his deft hands on defense were a primary reason why Marquette fans were pleased to see the grad transfer join the team, it was good to see him have a breakout in that direction.
Markus Howard finished as MU’s leading scorer on the night with 17 points, although it took him 16 shots to get there and not a single free throw, either. I’m not particularly worried about Howard’s long range shooting after his 5-for-14 performance here, as he’s still hitting on 37% on the year. That’s more than fine. However, it’s not up to his usual strong standards, so there are some questions to be asked about his shot selection.
Brendan Bailey also turned in a nice performance on the night after a few rough outings in the last three games. Bailey had started the first three games of the season, but Wojo had gone in other directions since then. He finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists, all career bests for the 21 year old freshman.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Well, now things get interesting. Marquette will resume action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome #12 Kansas State Wildcats to the Fiserv Forum. It will be MU’s first big test in the new arena, and after clanking the Indiana and Kansas games, the Golden Eagles could stand to use their home court as the advantage that it is supposed to be.