Marquette's inexperienced roster put together their best win to date, as the Golden Eagles took out Wisconsin 57-55 at the Kohl Center to improve to 8-2.
It was a statement game for super-freshman Henry Ellenson, who rose above his continually growing hype and pregame boos to score 15 points and add 11 rebounds and four assists. The freshman was the offensive focal point for the Golden Eagles on their final two offensive possessions, both of which ended in layups.
After the game, Ellenson told ESPN that he "wanted to show who the best team in the state and the best player in the state is." Mission accomplished, I'd say.
Another player in that "best in the state" discussion, Nigel Hayes, struggled all game long. Sandy Cohen played 32 minutes and guarded Hayes fantastically, holding him to just 10 points on 4-of-18 shooting. Hayes did add six rebounds and six assists, but airballed a potentially game-winning three pointer with six seconds remaining.
Luke Fischer turned in another solid performance for Marquette, scoring 12 points and adding six rebounds. He and Ellenson formed a stellar defensive unit again for the Golden Eagles, as each played 37 minutes and held Wisconsin to 36 percent shooting on two pointers. Fischer tipped in the game-winning hoop with 27 seconds remaining.
The Golden Eagles led for most of the contest, and led by as much as 14 in the second half. But as good teams are want to do, Wisconsin stormed back and finally tied the game on a Vitto Brown jumper with 1:29 remaining. Ellenson and Hayes then traded baskets before Fischer's put back put Marquette up for good.
Neither team played particularly deep rotations in the game. Four players for Wisconsin played more than 35 minutes and five Marquette players logged at least 32 minutes. Marquette did get 15 points off the bench from Duane Wilson and Jajuan Johnson combined, while not reserve scored for the Badgers.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles used the three-point shot sparingly and shot much more effectively as a result. They shot just over 50 percent for the game, and made three of the five threes they attempted.
Wisconsin point guard Bronson Koenig had a tough night, shooting 3-for-11 and scoring just eight points. Marquette's only true point guard, Traci Carter, had a similarly difficult night, turning the ball over four times in 13 minutes without a shot attempt or an assist.
Marquette now breaks for finals before returning to action Monday, Dec. 21 against Chicago State in Milwaukee.