Opportunity Knocks

Good teams take advantage of opportunities. Thus far in the 2014 season, Marquette has shown that they can make you pay when they are given the opportunity. This was evident in Orlando, as the Golden Eagles finished third behind Michigan State and Kansas in the Orlando Classic. Unfortunately, Saturday was not one those days. On the afternoon,

Marquette’s defense held the second ranked Wisconsin Badgers to 33 percent shooting for the game and still lost by 11.

“We are getting better,” said graduate senior Matt Carlino. “We just need to be able to capitalize on the opportunities we have gotten playing these good teams like this.”

[MU Head Coach Steve Wojciechowki]

The difference in this game was on the boards and in points off turnovers. The Badgers had 11 total turnovers leading to just four Marquette points. Wisconsin was able to grab 16 points off 10 Marquette turnovers. Steve Wojciechowski preaches about defense leading to offense, but on Saturday the Badgers held the Golden Eagles to just two fast break points.

“When you analyze the box score, they scored a third of their points off of our turnovers,” said head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “For a team that is still learning who they are offensively, you can’t turn the ball over.”

For most of the game Marquette was in striking distance, even pulling it to within 2 halfway through the second half. With the opportunity to tie, Marquette squandered multiple opportunities by either turning it over or attempting to drive the lane only to meet Frank Kaminsky or Nigel Hayes near the basket. Kaminsky would end up finishing the game with a triple double, going 15 and 10 on the afternoon.

[Carlino finds it difficult to drive down the lane]

“We haven’t played a team as good defensively as Wisconsin. I mean they’re huge,” said Wojciechowski. “We hadn’t had to finish at the rim or make decisions in the paint against a team with their size.”

Marquette’s biggest opportunities came off Wisconsin’s missed shots, but size was a factor as the Badgers grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to keep key possessions alive. Good teams will hurt if you give them the opportunity and Wisconsin was able to do just that. The Badgers finished with five second chance points. All five of those points came in critical moments for the Golden Eagles.

Defense Shines While Offense Struggles

Marquette’s 38 points against Wisconsin was the lowest point total for the Golden Eagles since last year’s loss to Ohio State. Leading the way for Marquette was graduate senior Matt Carlino, who finished with 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting. The team as a whole finished the afternoon shooting 28.9 percent from the field on 13 of 45 shooting.

“I thought our offense let us down,” said Wojciechowski. “The thing that hurt us most on offense were poor decisions. Poor decisions that lead to some really tough shots.”

Marquette’s defense was great in limiting the explosive Badger offense Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles used their speed to shut down the interior, challenging the Badgers to bury them with the three. One of the key guys in pressure was Derrick Wilson, whose movement helped lead the defense to winning the turnover battle.

[Matt Carlino vs tough UW defense]

[Derrick Wilson finds it rough going inside]

Coming into this matchup, Marquette was minus eight on the glass. Saturday was no exception as the Badgers out rebounded the Golden Eagles 41 to 28. Senior Juan Anderson had 10 of those boards, including nine on defense.

Luke Fischer Eligible at Right Time

Despite losing the rebounding battle all season, reinforcements are on the way. Indiana transfer Luke Fischer is now eligible and will make his debut against Arizona State on December 16th. The addition of another big should have an impact on Marquette’s offense. With Fischer at center, players like Anderson, Taylor, and Burton have the opportunity to face the basket and attack.

It is important to note that the 6’11’’ center played minimal minutes in his career at Indiana. While his size will help the Golden Eagles, the Germantown native will be another player that will look to gain experience on this young Marquette team.

“Luke will really help us on both ends of the floor,” said Wojciechowski. “He’s got legitimate size, he’s a smart player, he’s a skill player, and I think he’ll really help us.”

Luke Fischer was highly touted out of high school ranking in the top 100 nationally on the major recruiting sites. The center averaged 21.3 points and 9.5 boards per game his senior year at Germantown High School.

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