The only goal for Marquette men’s basketball on Tuesday night was to not lose to DePaul. Can’t afford to lose to DePaul, and definitely can’t afford to lose to DePaul right after the big win over Villanova on Saturday. Just be able to get back on the bus back to Milwaukee with a win.
The #10 ranked Golden Eagles did a little more than that, coming away from Wintrust Arena with a 92-73 victory. That moves MU to 21-4 on the year and 10-2 in the Big East. That matches a career best in conference wins for head coach Steve Wojciechowski, and Marquette still has six games left to go.
It looked like things were going to get a little wild out of the gate with the Golden eagles jumping out to an early 13-4 lead. Alas, “hey, we’re tied for third here” DePaul suddenly appeared, and MU couldn’t bust the game wide open. It got within a possession a few times in the first half, including when Max Strus sank a layup to pull within one at 35-34. That’s when Marquette engineered a 16-3 run down the stretch, and only a Strus jumper made it a 12 point game at the half, 51-39.
Both teams shot the ball well in the first half, but it was turnovers by the Blue Demons that gave the Golden Eagles the big advantage. The second half started in hilarious fashion with Eli Cain fouling Markus Howard on a three-point attempt. That bumped the lead to 15, and it would eventually climb to 20 on a free throw by Ed Morrow with 13:40 to go. That’s a lot of time, though, and we can’t be terribly surprised that DePaul had the ball with a chance to cut the lead to at least 10 and maybe even single digits with 5:03 to go. It was 80-68 at that point, but Lyrik Shreiner turned it over and then made it worse by fouling Markus Howard for an and-1 nine seconds later. Bang, the lead is 15 again.
Brendan Bailey had a steal and a jam with 4:34 to go which set things up for a DEEP Howard dagger off of an offensive rebound by Theo John with 2:33 to go. Back up to 20, and that was pretty much that.
The big story from the game is going to be the condition of Sam Hauser’s right eye. While pivoting in the lane, he got poked in the eye at the 6:50 mark of the game. The refs gave him a moment to reset himself, and with swelling visibly starting already, Hauser sank both freebies before exiting the game. He was done for the night there, and finished with 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists. It’s going to be a week before Marquette plays again, so that will give Hauser a good chance to rest before he would need to be back in uniform.
Markus Howard had a 36 point night, getting there on a ridiculous 12-for-21 shooting performance, including 4-of-9 from deep. He also had four rebounds and three assists. Sacar Anim followed up his great game against Villanova with a high quality 12 points here, and Joey Hauser showed signs of life with seven points a rebound, and two assists.
Theo John had six blocks, because he is not human.
Up Next: As mentioned a minute ago, Marquette is off this weekend and will return to the court next Wednesday when they host Butler back at Fiserv Forum. The Bulldogs are in overtime against St. John’s as I type this, and they have to host DePaul on Saturday before making the trip to Milwaukee.