Howard gives No. 20 Marquette boost in win over North Dakota
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The rust from a 10-day layoff showed at times Tuesday night for No. 20 Marquette, especially during a sloppy stretch of nine turnovers in the opening nine minutes.
Markus Howard restored order in a hurry at the arc.
Howard scored 26 points, including 19 over the final 10:22 of the first half to help stabilize the Golden Eagles after a disjointed start in a 92-66 win over North Dakota.
The sharpshooting guard was 9 of 13 from the field and 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point line. He scored 14 straight points for Marquette in the middle of a 30-9 run over the final nine minutes of the first half that allowed the Golden Eagles to seize control.
"He can have a stretch where he's making the right basketball plays, and that may mean he doesn't get as many shots," coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "And then he can have a stretch where opportunities present themselves, and when they do he normally delivers."
Howard didn't even take a shot until about midway through the first half. Sam Hauser added 21 points for Marquette (9-2).
Cortez Seales had 14 points and seven rebounds for North Dakota (6-6), which trailed by 22 at the break.
The Golden Eagles hadn't played in 10 days because of final exams, and the normally loud Fiserv Forum was quieter with students on break.
Marquette played typically solid defense, holding North Dakota to 36 percent shooting — including 15 percent from the 3-point line (3 of 20).
But the Golden Eagles finished with 22 turnovers.
"We were just being aggressive there," North Dakota coach Brian Jones said. "Offensively, I thought when we had patience and we moved the ball, we had great shots, but they didn't go in."
Averaging 14.4 turnovers per game, Marquette had committed nine less than 11 minutes in.
"With us just having 10 days off, we were just too excited, we were a little amped up coming out," forward Ed Morrow said.
Howard helped settle the team down.
The junior had a four-point play after hitting a 3 from the corner with 8:20 left in the first half. He followed with a step-back 3 from the wing 40 seconds later for a 26-20 lead.
Howard finished his 14-point spurt with another 3 with 6:09 remaining to put Marquette up by 11, well on its way to a sixth straight victory.
North Dakota: Chalk this night up as another learning experience for a team with 11 players on the roster who had never played in a college basketball game entering this season. The Fighting Hawks hung around while forcing nine turnovers over the first 10 minutes. But the deficit grew quickly once Howard got going from outside the arc because North Dakota couldn't keep up, shooting 1 of 10 from 3-point territory in the first half.
Marquette: Howard went to the bench for a brief spell early in the game after appearing to hurt his upper left leg, but it didn't seem to bother his shot. He was 7 of 9 in the first half, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. ... Morrow, a transfer from Nebraska, had 18 points — his career high at Marquette. He was 8 of 12 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.
North Dakota can take some comfort in slicing into a 30-point deficit early in the second half with a 13-0 run, which included a 3 and a jumper by Aenen Moody. He finished with seven points.
"I think Marquette plays a similar style so it was a great test for us defensively, try to defend stuff like what we run," Jones said.
Filip Rebraca added 12 points for North Dakota.
Marquette announced after the game that guard Greg Elliott will redshirt this season. The sophomore never played after hurting his left thumb in practice in early October. Elliott was a key reserve as a freshman last season, appearing in all 35 games while averaging 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds.
North Dakota: At Northern Iowa on Saturday.
Marquette: Hosts No. 14 Buffalo on Friday.