Milwaukee, WI – Before any of his Marquette teammates walked onto the Bradley Center court on Saturday afternoon, even before the bus bringing the game’s opponent, the DePaul Blue Demons, arrived to the arena, Andrew Rowsey, was getting up shots by himself.
Not only was Rowsey preparing himself for another Big East game, but he was also trying to drown out the memory of his performance in Marquette’s previous game. As Marquette worked overtime to defeat Seton Hall earlier in the week, Rowsey spent all but three of those 45 available minutes of playing time anchored to the bench. In those three minutes, Rowsey drew the anger of Marquette Coach Steve Wojciechowski by first allowing a basket at the rim after selling out to the player he was guarding and losing vision of the ball and then putting too much air under a pass that was easily stolen.
Different game, different result.
Getting an early call from Wojciechowski after starting point guard Markus Howard picked his second foul halfway through the first half, Rowsey responded by spearheading a Marquette offensive outburst that turned a 22-22 tie into a 52-31 Marquette advantage at the half in a game the Golden Eagles would go on to win 83-58. “The Seton Hall game took a lot out of us,” said Wojciechowski. “I thought we were heavy-legged to start the game. It’s amazing how your energy level goes up when you make shots.”
Rowsey, generously listed at 5-10, is a score-first guard with deep shooting range. After misfiring on a corner three-point shot shortly after entering the game, the redshirt junior went on a three-point shooting tear connecting from all areas behind the arc in knocking down five straight three-point shots. Rowsey shot all this triples off the catch. After making his first three three-pointers with little DePaul resistance, he drained a three-point shot at the right break after a quick stop in transition and finished off his first-half work connecting on a fallback three-pointer from the left corner.
Asked after the game if his limited playing time against Seton Hall fueled his performance against DePaul, Rowsey said, “Yeah, you could say that. I know my role. I know that each night it could be anybody. Coach told me that wasn’t going to be my night, but to keep my head up because any game could be mine. So that’s what I did, just looked forward to the next one.”
This was not the first time Rowsey, who transferred to Marquette after two all-conference seasons at UNC Asheville, has showed off the combustible side of his offensive game this season. While scoring over 20 or more points in each game against opponents Pittsburgh, Western Carolina and St. Francis (PA), Rowsey combined to make 13-of-27 shots from behind the three-point stripe.
Rowsey said that when he gets it going from distance, “the ball feels like a rock and the basket looks like an ocean. You definitely have to ride that wave, and it’s a fun wave to ride.
“We talked with Andrew (after the Seton Hall game) and he responded,” said Wojciechowski. “His threes were momentum plays. I’m proud of the way Andrew played.”
Marquette also received a big boost in its end-of-the half run from fellow rotational player and graduate transfer Katin Reinhardt. A 6-6 wing with stops at UNLV and Southern California on his resume, Reinhardt scored 11 first-half points knocking down 4-of-5 shots from the floor including all three of his shots from distance. Unlike earlier in the season, when Reinhardt appeared to be breaking off plays to take open and contested shots often early in the shot clock, the southern California native has settled into his role off the bench and actually plays with better rhythm and more patience than when he began the season in the Marquette starting line-up.
Joining Rowsey and Reinhardt in making a huge contribution off the Marquette bench was redshirt junior Duane Wilson. A starter for much of his first two seasons in a Marquette uniform, the 6-2 Wilson has transitioned nicely into a back-up role. A two-way player listed among the Big East steal leaders, Wilson impacted the game in a number of ways scoring nine points, making 2-of-3 long distance shots and handing out a team and game-high seven assists.
Entering the game as the Big East leader in three-point shots made (9.9 per game) and second in three-point field goal percentage (.409), the Golden Eagles got off to a cold shooting day misfiring on four of their first five three-point tries. But Marquette heated up in a hurry after that making 11 of their next 15 shots from distance in the first half and finishing the game converting 13-of-27 to increase its team percentage from behind the three-point arc.
Asked to explain his team’s success from long distance, Wojciechowski cited his players’ unselfishness and passing ability. “I saw great ball movement and great ball movement led to some open shots,” said the Marquette coach. “Guys were able to set their feet and shoot in-rhythm shots.” He went on to call his team’s play in the last ten minutes of the first half “some of the most unselfish basketball we’ve played all year.”
With the mostly strong play of Rowsey, Reinhardt and Wilson off the bench since the start of the Big East season, Wojciechowski said he feels confident in his team’s scoring ability regardless of the particular player mix at the time. “One of the things we talk about on a daily basis is on every possession we want the ball to find the best shot,” said Wojciechowski. “I think our guys bought into that tonight and hopefully that will continue.”
Marquette takes its 12-5 overall record and 3-2 conference record to Indianapolis on Monday to take on the top-25 ranked Butler Bulldogs. DePaul also returns to action on Monday when it travels to New York to take on St. John’s.
This article was written by Tom Osowski, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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