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Game Recap: Marquette squeezes by New Hampshire

A 58-53 home victory was certainly not what the Golden Eagles expected out of Thursday night's game with the Wildcats.

Jonathan Daniel

Marquette entered Thursday's game against New Hampshire in need of a bounce back win after a drubbing at the hands of Ohio State last Saturday. The Golden Eagles got the win, but the victory can hardly be categorized as a bounce back.

For much of the 58-53 win, it was much of the same from a suddenly offensively inept Marquette squad. The Golden Eagles shot 32.7 percent from the field, went 3-for-22 from beyond the arc, and shot just 61.8 percent from the free throw line. New Hampshire had better numbers in every category and out rebounded them 37-32.

Chris Otule and Todd Mayo led Marquette with 16 points apiece, and MU jumped out to an early 21-5 lead thanks to both of them. However, the shots stopped falling after that. The Golden Eagles went the final 10:25 of the first half without a field goal, and New Hampshire cut the lead to 25-18 at the break.

Marquette reasserted its lead to start the second half, and pulled in front 35-22 five minutes into the half. However, poor shooting doomed the Golden Eagles, and UNH stormed back by getting hot from distance. Daniel Dion and Jordon Bronner each connected on three triples, as much as Marquette made all game as a team. Back-to-back triples from Jake Thomas held the Wildcats at bay for a while, but New Hampshire stormed back to cut the lead down to five with 25 seconds remaining. Marquette made a few free throws in the final moments to seal the deal, but the message was clear: something is wrong with this team offensively.

What exactly is the issue? At its core, Marquette just isn't making shots right now, and Buzz Williams isn't sure that can be corrected in season.

"I hope so," Williams said of whether he can fix his team's shooting woes. "We'll find out. It'll be a really long year if we don't."

Williams stressed that his players had to "earn the right to make shots." They have to work through the offense to get good shots before the ball starts going through the hoop on a regular basis.

"If you shoot an unassisted field goal attempt, you probably won't make it," Williams said. "Probably you won't make it if we haven't got a paint touch. If the ball hasn't been reversed from one side to the other to make the defense have to jump to the ball and shift, you probably won't make first side shots. I think you have to earn it."

Marquette showed off a new look at the point guard position in Thursday's game. Jamil Wilson played a lot of minutes as a sort of point forward. In turn, Marquette had 11 minutes where neither Derrick Wilson nor John Dawson were on the floor. Derrick Wilson saw a season-low 21 minutes, and didn't play at all in crunch time, sitting out the final 7:23 of the contest.

"I like him at the one," Williams said of Jamil Wilson. "I think his mentality is best when he starts at the four, but if you look at the numbers, he's three of his last eighteen shots, and he's played the one, two, three and four."

Ultimately, Marquette needs to figure out some sort of offense continuity and figure it out soon. The Golden Eagles have a true road game on Monday at Arizona State before they travel to California Thursday for the Wooden Legacy.