Thank goodness for Joseph Chartouny.
Coming off a bad loss, the emphasis was not going to be on how much Marquette won by, but how they played against Presbyterian. Early in the game, the better question was if Marquette would even win.
As much negative attention Marquette’s defense got against Indiana, I thought the offense was the bigger problem. The poor offensive play gave the Hoosiers all the momentum they needed at home to go on an unstoppable roll. While the coaching staff was not able to figure out the offensive problems at Indiana, fans would hope they could at home against Presbyterian.
The same offensive problems existed for the Golden Eagles to start this game. There were forced shots and turnovers. No set offense existed, just a continued reliance on Marquette’s players to go one-on-one with their defender and score. The lack of creativity was evident, and I could see the #FireWojobandwagon filling up.
Trailing 15-12 with 9:22 Wojo took a timeout and made a great adjustment. He placed an emphasis in getting points in the paint. While Presbyterian continued to stay hot from 3, Marquette stayed in the game by getting buckets down low and getting to the free throw line. While 0-9 from 3 and only able to tie the game at halftime 26-26, the offense started to show signs of life.
The post play of the first half opened better opportunities to start the second half. Sam, Joey and Cain all missed open 3’s, but they were open, not forced. Howard finally broke open the 3-point shooting on a set play where he ran through three screens.
Still down 40-35 with 13:46 left in the second half, Joseph Chartouny made his presence felt. He scored assisted on twenty-one of the teams next 36 points including three 3’s of his own. The offense was flowing. To no surprise, the offense was better after there was more ball movement, set plays and creativity. While starting the game 0-12 from 3, Marquette went 9-13 to finish the game. On the 39-15 run to finish the game, the Golden Eagles assisted on 33 of 36 points (three points of FT’s). The strong offense and boosted confidence to go along with less transition opportunities for the Blue Hoses led to a more productive defense for Marquette.
Another key to the strong finish was limiting turnovers. Marquette had 16 turnovers in this game, but only two in the final 13:46. Howard, who led the team with seven, has struggled with turnovers in his new lead ball-handling role this season. While Chartouny may ease his workload, Howard will have to improve in limiting turnovers to be the elite offensive guard he is capable of being.
Presbyterian came into this game averaging 94 PPG. While letting a team shoot 41.4% from 3, Marquette did hold Presbyterian to 21.9% on 2 point shots. The Blue Hoses were able to get a lot of wide open 3s. Wojo’s squad appeared to be very focused on stopping drives into the paint, causing a lot of over helping by the defense. This worked against Presbyterian, but I assume Wojo will have a different game plan for teams with more established 3 point shooters.
Sam Hauser led Marquette in scoring with 19 points, and added 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Chartouny came off the bench for 16 points (6-7 from the field, 3-4 from 3), 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Joey Houser was productive despite not shooting well in his first career start adding 13 points, 5 assists and 8 rebounds. Howard only put up 7 shots (4-7, 2-5 from 3) for 10 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
The Blue Hoses were led by freshman guard Adam Flagler who finished with 20 points while shooting 4-7 from three. Presbyterian faces another top-25 team on the road Monday at UCLA.
Marquette opens the NIT season Tip-Off with #2 Kansas Wednesday on ESPN2.