Marquette HoopCap: Hauser & Howard Break Out
Marquette kicked off a tough three-game stretch in Athens, Georgia taking on Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. This didn’t look like an easy task for Golden Eagles, but they found their stroke early on from deep which propelled the team. Marquette gets a huge resume booster with a 89-79 win over Bulldogs led by their two freshman – Sam Hauser and Markus Howard.
Sam Hauser finding his groove
This game was one where you get irrationally excited about the future of Marquette basketball. Sam Hauser had his hand in all facets of the Marquette offense. He finished with a career-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Hauser came up with big shots down the stretch. Marquette lead had been cut to two, and Hauser found some space inside to get a tough and-1. Then on next possession with Marquette up five, Hauser drills a three to put the team up eight. He’s a special talent who isn’t just a three-point shooter. It’s encouraging to see how far he’s come in less than a month of college basketball.
Markus Howard finding it too
For me, Markus Howard’s production would be house money this season due to the fact he’s only 17 years old. This should be his senior year of high school. Instead, he’s playing with the big boys in major college basketball. Howard is starting to get his sea legs. In the last three games, Howard is averaging 15 points per game and shooting 50 percent from three. He had a couple big buckets in this game including a highlight-reel layup. Howard’s production is an added bonus with a team loaded with guard scoring talent.
Offensive rebounding machine
Marquette had multiple second-chance opportunities pulling down 15 offensive rebounds. They were animals on the glass and gave extra reloads to this potent offense. JaJuan Johnson led the way with five and Matt Heldt pulled down four himself. This played a part in the win and could be a big thing that wins Marquette other games this season.
Golden Eagles led this game by 16 points around the 14 minute mark. This game felt vaguely similar to Pitt at Madison Square Garden with Georgia coming back when Marquette went cold from three. Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run to pull the lead to two points. Instead of Marquette wilting down the stretch, they found some buckets and responded with a 10-0 run putting Georgia to bed. That’s a sign of two things – one, coaching and two, a team who is growing as the season progresses into conference play. Good to see.
Players of the Game
Hauser/Jajuan Johsnon (Marquette) / Yante Maten (Bulldogs): Hauser is the deserving Marquette player, but I did want to mention Jajuan Johnson’s game. He had a rough day from the field making 5-of-15 shots, but Johnson did so much more than just getting buckets. He still scored 16 points and notched his first double-double of his college career with 10 rebounds. Johnson added five steals and one massive block. Johnson is the glue for this team. Yante Maten played well with 24 points on 10-13 shooting. Georgia has a nice one-two punch with Maten and J.J. Frazier.
Marquette cannot overlook Fresno State with Wisconsin coming to town on Saturday afternoon. A part of me is very nervous that this game will be closer than it should be because Marquette lets these guys hang around. Fresno State are winners of six of their last seven true road games. They’re led by fabulous senior Paul Watson.