New Hampshire-Marquette Preview


After its worst offensive performance in nearly 14 years, Marquette has little time to regroup before heading west.

The 25th-ranked Golden Eagles try to bounce back Thursday night when they complete a four-game homestand against New Hampshire.

Coach Buzz Williams watched his team miss plenty of shots in Saturday's 52-35 loss to then-No. 10 Ohio State that ended Marquette's 27-game home winning streak. The Golden Eagles (2-1) made just four baskets in the second half and shot 18.9 percent (10 for 53) for the game in their lowest-scoring effort since a 55-35 loss to DePaul on Feb. 16, 2000.

"The shots that we shot in the first half, you could argue two or three of them were not our shots," Williams said. "I think the ball was too stagnant, we were never able to create angles off penetration, create angles off quick ball and body movement. It was more station to station and we never were able to attack. We scored zero points in transition."

Marquette's offense has been so disjointed at times because Williams is breaking in a new backcourt. Point guard Derrick Wilson is averaging a team-high 4.7 assists but is 1 for 9 from the field, and guards Todd Mayo, Jake Thomas and swingman Jamil Wilson all are shooting under 40 percent as the Golden Eagles have made just 10 of 49 (20.4 percent) from 3-point range.

These struggles could become magnified when Marquette plays at Arizona State next Monday before participating in the eight-team Wooden Legacy Classic. One of those three games could be against new Big East rival and 23rd-ranked Creighton.

"I told our guys that things we've been talking about over the past month were revealed," Williams said after the loss. "When you play this caliber of game in the first week of the season, you do learn a lot about your team. Will that help us open our eyes to get better? I hope. This is a stage where you learn about your team and sometimes you wish you could delay what we learned. But we'll see how we handle it."

New Hampshire (2-1) hasn't handled facing Top 25 teams well, losing all 14 such contests by an average of 33.2 points since the start of the 1996-97 season. The Wildcats were denied a 3-0 start Sunday following a 71-63 home loss to New Jersey Institute of Technology in which they were outscored 46-32 in the first half and allowed the Highlanders to shoot 52.8 percent for the game.

"We got outplayed right from the opening tip to the final horn, and that's what's really, really disappointing," coach Bill Herrion said after his team failed to build on a road win at Duquesne. "I thought our basketball team would have more maturity, more pride and a much better understanding of how you build off good wins. Defensively in the first half was probably the worst defensive performance in my nine years here."

Senior Chris Pelcher had 20 points and 15 rebounds, giving him double-doubles in all three games this season. The 6-foot-10 center is averaging team highs of 19.7 points, 16.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while shooting 64.9 percent. The Wildcats are outrebounding opponents by 9.4 per game, but will face a Golden Eagles squad pulling down 47.0 per contest, including 14.3 per game on the offensive end.

This is the first meeting between the teams.