Milwaukee, WI – As Marquette’s Andrew Rowsey’s jump shot went into mini-hibernation in the Golden Eagles last two games, fellow guard Markus Howard picked him up to the tune of 89 points as Marquette split road games at Providence and Villanova. Back on his home court in Milwaukee on Tuesday night facing #13/#15 Seton Hall, Rowsey got back in the scoring fun.
Rowsey scored Marquette’s first 11 points of the game and finished with a game-high figure of 31 in leading the Golden Eagles to a 84-64 victory over a Seton Hall team that beat Marquette two out of three times last season and has generally given it fits since the Seton Hall foursome of seniors Angel Delgado, Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington and Ismael Sanogo stepped on the Seton Hall campus four years ago.
Held to a combined six for 24 shooting against Providence and Villanova, Rowsey got it going early against Seton Hall scoring on an assortment of runners and lay-ups in posting Marquette’s first eight points. “Some of you (media personnel) may find this hard to believe, but we want to be a driving team,” said Marquette Coach Steve Wojciechowski, referencing his team’s well-earned reputation for shooting a well above average percentage of its shots from behind the three-point arc. “I thought Andrew drove the ball well tonight.”
Rowsey’s game starts behind the three-point line where his range extends beyond even the NBA arc. He has the accuracy and the green light to launch from just about anywhere and at any time in the shot clock. He shoots off the dribble in both directions, off the catch with his feet set and off downscreens when he has to square up to the basket. His quick release beats closeouts that come at him with ramped up intensity as his long-distance shooting continues to trend upward. Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the 5-11 redshirt senior stood second in the Big East with 57 made triples and his 43 percent shooting mark from distance was ninth best. Rowsey’s 21.0 point per game scoring average was second in the league to Howard’s 23.5 mark.
“Andrew didn’t play his best game in the last game (against Villanova when he was held to six points on 2-of-12 shooting),” said Wojciechowski. “I thought he came out aggressive, but not reckless. Andrew gives us a swagger and we need that from him. When he does that, other guys get confidence from him.”
Marquette’s game is built around its offense. With Howard and Rowsey sitting one-two the Big East scoring board, the Golden Eagles were fourth in the conference in team scoring. The tradeoff for that high-scoring offense has been a leaky defense that placed last in the league by a considerable margin. In facing the fifth-ranked scoring offense in the league in Seton Hall, Marquette figured to have its hands full trying to contain the potent Seton Hall scoring trio of Delgado, Rodriguez and Carrington.
Employing a similar defense that helped hold down bigs Ethan Happ of Wisconsin and Yante Maten of Georgia in earlier games this season, Marquette sent a second defender at Delgado when the powerfully built 6-10 center received the ball on the low block. “He’s (Delgado) as good a big man as there is in the conference,” said Marquette center Matt Heldt. “When he caught it, Sam (Hauser) was able to double. We wanted to double and get the ball out of his hands.” Coming off a game at Butler where he scored 28 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, Delgado had to settle for 12 points and 10 rebounds against Marquette.
The Golden Eagles were able to limit Delgado’s production without sacrificing big-time scoring games from Rodriguez or Carrington. Rodriguez, a left-handed shooter with a physical game that allows him to play bigger than his 6-6 frame, scored 11 points, but none in the second half when the game started slipping away from Seton Hall. Like Delgado, Carrington was coming off a huge game against Butler that saw him score 29 points and hand out six assists. But against a defense clearly designed to limit his touches, the Pirates’ guard was held to six points on two-of-eight shooting.
The Marquette defender causing the most havoc on Carrington was Greg Elliott, a rangy 6-3 freshman out of Detroit, Michigan. Elliott came off the Marquette bench to play 25 productive minutes. Marquette had success keeping the ball out of Carrington’s hands by playing a 1-3-1, three-quarter court zone defense after made baskets. Once the ball advanced over half court, Marquette reverted to its man defense and Elliott clamped onto Carrington to deny the return pass to him and force another Seton Hall player to initiate offense. “My job was to keep him (Carrington) out of the paint and use my length when he did shoot the three to contest it,” said Elliott. “Guarding Carrington didn’t fall on the shoulders of one guy, but I want to make special mention of Greg Elliott because his defense was very good,” added Wojciechowski.
Hand-in-hand with defense goes rebounding, and here again Marquette played above its pregame ranking of last in the conference. “I thought our rebounding was a team effort,” said Wojciechowski. “It’s not like we had one guy with 16 rebounds. Our entire group had to come up with boards and our guys did that. Andrew had five defensive rebounds. Greg Elliott had five defensive rebounds. When you’re getting those kind of numbers from your guards, that really helps our big guys because it is very difficult to block out Delgado and then go get it.” Winning the rebounding battle for only the seventh time in 17 games, Marquette out-rebounded Seton Hall 38-33.
Stepping up from his usual position as Marquette’s third scoring option, Hauser finished second on the team with 14 points. Elevating himself into the discussion of the most efficient scorers in the Big East, Hauser connected on four of nine shots from behind the arc to bring his three-point shooting percentage to 48, second only in the Big East to Villanova’s Jalen Brunson.
Marquette was able to inflict the first conference loss on Seton Hall with what could be considered an off night from Howard, its 5-11 sophomore dynamo of a scoring guard who earned Big East player of the week honors with his 52-point outburst against Providence followed by a 37-point eruption against Villanova. Howard scored 12 points against the Pirates. “Markus still played a real good floor game,” said the Marquette coach. “That showed some growth. It would have been easy to get mentally out of it, and he didn’t. I’m proud of that.”
With four of its five losses to ranked teams and its fifth loss to a Georgia team getting votes in the national polls, Marquette posted its first win of the season against a ranked team in upsetting the Pirates. The Golden Eagles face a quick turnaround by travelling to Indianapolis for game at Butler on January 12th. Seton Hall continues Big East play by hosting Georgetown on January 13th.
This article was written by Tom Osowski, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.