Butler coach Chris Holtmann appreciates his squad’s intensity, but at times he’s had to convince his players to take a more calm and meticulous approach.
Marquette seems to be a little too relaxed for coach Steve Wojciechowski’s liking.
The 25th-ranked Bulldogs seek a fifth victory in six games as they try to send the Golden Eagles to their longest losing streak in 24 years on Saturday.
Butler (15-6, 5-3 Big East) held a four-point halftime lead against then-No. 24 Seton Hall on Sunday, and Holtmann felt once again it was letting the opponent dictate the pace.
"We wanted our guys during a couple of timeouts to relax," Holtmann said. "This wasn’t heart surgery that we were doing. Let’s have fun and play with a smile on our face. Let’s embrace this opportunity to play a great team at home. Hopefully, it freed their minds up a little bit."
The Bulldogs responded, and finished with a season-low five turnovers while shooting 49.1 percent in a 77-57 victory for their fourth win in five games. Andrew Chrabascz scored a game-high 16 points for Butler, which hit just 16 of 31 of its free throws.
"It takes a little bit of maturity in situations like that when the game doesn’t go like you’d like it to go, particularly on the free-throw line," Holtmann said. "You’ve got to be able to overcome that and have enough inner stuff to get on to the next play."
Wojciechowski doesn’t believe Marquette (10-10, 2-6) can handle much adversity. It has lost four straight after falling 80-70 to Seton Hall on Wednesday and took a season-high 29 3-point attempts, hitting just nine.
The Golden Eagles, who haven’t lost five straight since a seven-game slide in the 1990-91 season, have hung around in each game during the skid. They lost by four to Xavier on Jan. 17, three to St. John’s on Jan. 21 and fell to Georgetown in overtime last Saturday.
"We got beat by the better team (Wednesday)," Wojciechowski said. "We were flat, and our margin for error is not very big. We have to do most things right to have a chance to win."
Juan Anderson, who has averaged just 4.8 points in his last five games after putting up 11.3 per game in his first 15, wasn’t happy after Marquette trailed at the half for the third straight game.
"We’ve come out flat plenty of times over the course of the season, but I didn’t expect for it to get out of hand like that," Anderson said. "I take complete responsibility on my part. I shouldn’t allow my team to have lapses like that. As a captain you have to stop that.
"I hate losing. They played harder than us."
One positive is that Marquette continues to work its offense, as it assisted on 26 of its 28 field goals against the Pirates. Derrick Wilson had eight assists for the Golden Eagles, who rank third in the Big East with 15.7 per game.
Marquette may have to be patient to find its shots against a Butler team that is allowing the fewest points per contest in the Big East at 60.1. It has held its last four opponents to 39.8 percent from the field.
Butler held the Golden Eagles to 30.8 percent shooting in a 69-57 overtime win Jan. 18, 2014, but Wilson finished with eight assists and five steals to help Marquette win the most recent matchup 69-62 on Feb. 4.