Marquette: Figuring Out Ways to Lose

The Marquette Golden Eagles are a young, tough team that, sadly, finds ways to throw games away. Now 16-10, 5-8 in Big East Play, Marquette lost a tough one to Creighton Saturday and not even the winning coach was happy at how his team won. Creighton Head Coach Greg McDermott said his team played poorly; MU Head Coach Steve Wojciechowski wasn’t pleased either, evident in his remarks after the game.

“I know we have three freshmen and a sophomore whatever on the court at the end of the game, but 25 games in out of a timeout you have to try to do what we want to do and if it doesn’t work then that’s on me,” Wojciechowski said. “But you’ve got to try to do it. Not doing it is not acceptable.”

He’s talking about the final seconds of the game. After a timeout, with a two point lead, Wojciechowski has drawn up a play that would involve either Freshman Henry Ellenson or Junior Luke Fischer. But, the players on the court didn’t event attempt to run the play.

It vanished as soon as the ball came into play.

Marquette doesn’t get a shot, Creighton gets the ball, runs back down the court, pops a 3-pointer and that’s all she wrote for the Golden Eagles…after a few more miscues including another missed shot, a failed attempt at a rebound and then a foul.

Slim hopes to make the NCAA Tournament now and lots of Marquette faithful lamenting the possible leaving of Ellenson for the draft.

The Ups and Downs of Young Teams

Marquette went into halftime against St. John’s down 8 points on Saturday January 9th, 2016. After starting out fast and strong, St. John’s showed they had an outside game and a way to manage Marquette’s ability to get into the paint: force turnovers and, unfortunately, offensive fouls. The later hit Henry Ellenson with about 8 minutes left in the first half, forcing him to sit out until the second half. He had two offensive fouls quickly. It’s a problem that has plagued the freshman All-American since the season started.

“You drill him (in practice) for him to recognize the situation,” said Head Coach Steve Wojociechowski. “In the second half he had a double-double … that’s pretty darn good!”

I want to point out that during the 8 or so minutes Ellenson wasn’t in the game, Freshman Matt Heldt picked-up his game and helped keep Marquette in it. He gets better each time he’s on the court. Something to really watch.

That second half bounce back by Ellenson, as well as double digit scoring from Junior Luke Fischer, Freshman Haanif Cheatham and Freshman Duane Wilson as well as getting to the charity stripe 21 times, proved to be the winning element against St. John’s. 10 of the final points for Marquette came from free-throws where Marquette shot 89% for the game.

Wilson shot 4-9 from well behind the three-point line…even from well behind the NBA mark.

When I asked Wilson if he knew how far back he was when he took the shots: “Not really.”

It was “Al’s Day” for the Golden Eagles and Marquette faithful; a day to honor the legendary Al McGuire. McGuire went to St. John’s for his collegiate career, making the win even more memorable for the Golden Eagles.

Listen to my full report:

Marquette won 81-75 and is now 2-2 in Big East play. This week, they face uphill battles against #6 Villanova Wednesday then #7 Xavier Saturday at home.