Reality Check: MU Falls to Neb-Omaha 97-89

After a tight loss to Ohio State Tuesday night in Columbus, the Marquette Golden Eagles headed back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for a matchup with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks came into the matchup second in the nation in possessions per game. To improve to 2-1 on the season, the Golden Eagles would have to be able to lock down on transition defense.

The task was too much for the inexperienced Golden Eagles, as Omaha was able to steal a 97-89 victory Saturday afternoon.

Marquette was outrebounded by Neb-Omaha 40 to 24.

After a tight loss to Ohio State Tuesday night in Columbus, the Marquette Golden Eagles headed back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for a matchup with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks came into the matchup second in the nation in possessions per game. To improve to 2-1 on the season, the Golden Eagles would have to be able to lock down on transition defense. The task was too much for the inexperienced Golden Eagles, as Omaha was able to steal a 97-89 victory Saturday afternoon.

Marquette got off to a sluggish start as Nebraska-Omaha began the game on a 12-2 run. The Golden Eagles’ first points did not come until the 17-minute mark courtesy of a pair of Matt Carlino technical foul free throws. Marquette did not get their first bucket from the field until five minutes into the game.

Juan Anderson had 23 pts 8 Rebs 4 asts 3 ST and 2 BL vs Neb-Omaha

“You can’t give yourself a hole,” Steve Wojciechowski said after Saturday afternoon’s loss. “We’re a team that has to fight like crazy together to beat anyone on our schedule. We don’t have anyone on our roster that is an established marquee player at Marquette.”

The quickness of Omaha was too much for Marquette as the Mavericks’ Devin Patterson and CJ Carter exploded for a combined 30 of the team’s 44 first half points, scoring 14 and 16 respectively.

“The dribble penetration was bad,” stated Wojciechowski. “We got beat routinely off the dribble and they were able to get into our paint and break us down.”

From the opening tip to the final buzzer of the half, Marquette could not manage to find the lead once. This is due largely to the speed and quickness of the Mavericks on both ends of the floor leading to easy drives and second chance opportunities. Above all else, it was Omaha’s 22-11 advantage on the boards in the first half that should worry Marquette most.

The Golden Eagles went into the half trailing 44-41.

In the second half, Marquette came out with the energy that was missing in the first 20 minutes of play and found their first lead of the afternoon at the 17:57 mark. That lead quickly disappeared, as the Golden Eagle lead lasted merely 47 seconds.

Every time Marquette tied it up or took the lead, Omaha would answer right back with a quick bucket to silence the crowd and keep their grip on the game. This was due largely to Omaha’s torrid shooting performance. The Mavericks shot a blistering 57 percent from the field for the game. At the end of the day the Golden Eagles could not overcome Omaha’s quickness and shooting.

The Mavericks were led by Devin Patterson, as the guard would finish the game with 26 points and eight assists. On many of those assists, Patterson would dish it to fellow guard CJ Carter, who finished with 25 points of his own.

“Those guys are fast. They have some good guards,” said senior Derrick Wilson. “ “They have speed that makes its very hard to defend in the full court.”

It wasn’t all bad news for the Golden Eagles against Nebraska-Omaha, as Wilson scored a career high 17 points. Juan Anderson led the team with 23 points against the Mavericks.

Steve Taylor had 3 pts and 2 rebounds in 17 min.

“Of all the guys on our team, they have been in the most big time situations,” said Wojciechowski. “For an older guy, it’s easier to lose yourself in the game and really the only thing your concentrating on is winning.”

[Duane Wilson scored 18 pts in the loss to Omaha]

A season ago, Marquette struggled to find points. Thus far in 2014, the problem has been at the defensive end of the floor. While this team is a “work in progress”, as Wojciechowski stated after the game, the first-year head coach can take comfort in the fact that his team had five players in double figures including sophomores Deonte Burton and Duane Wilson.

Marquette looks to right the ship Monday night at home against NJIT before heading down to Disney World for the Orlando Classic.

Freshman Sandy Cohen had 8 pts 4 rebs 1 Bl and 2 Steals.


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