Marquette attempts to extend its current two-game winning streak when it hosts Chicago State in a non-conference contest Wednesday. The Golden Eagles squeaked past Eastern Illinois by three in an overtime affair Monday, while the Cougars have dropped three straight entering the contest.
Junior guard Fred Sims Jr. has been the main offensive weapon for Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy this season, averaging a team-best 15.3 points and coming off a 25-point game in a loss to Drake on Sunday. Marquette has its own hot scorer in sophomore forward Sam Hauser, who has scored 20 or more points in three of the Golden Eagles’ last four outings, highlighted by his career-best 30 points in the win over Eastern Illinois. Andrew Rowsey leads coach Steve Wojciechowski’s squad, averaging 23.3 points per game, while Markus Howard is adding 17.7 points per contest. Defensively, there is room for improvement for Marquette, which is allowing opponents to shoot 49.7 percent from the field.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 2
ABOUT CHICAGO STATE (2-7): One thing that would help the undersized Cougars — who have just one player taller than 6-8 — would be some outside shooting. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been present in the early going of the season, with Chicago State shooting 28.5 percent as a team from beyond the arc. It’s not that the Cougars aren’t trying, with Sims attempting 51 3-pointers while Travon Bell and Montana Byrd have put it up 32 and 27 times, respectively, but until those shots start falling, teams will be able to pack it in and close off passing lanes and driving lanes and bog down the Chicago State offense.
ABOUT MARQUETTE (4-2): The Golden Eagles got a bit of a shock when junior guard Haanif Cheatham left the team hours before the Eastern Illinois contest for personal reasons. Cheatham had been averaging 8.2 points in 26.2 minutes per contest, leaving Wojciechowski will a hole to fill in his lineup. Against the Panthers — and likely going forward until SMU transfer Harry Froling becomes eligible Dec. 18 — Wojciechowski gave Cheatham’s starting spot to swingman Sacar Anim and the extra minutes to a pair of freshmen, Greg Elliott and Jamal Cain, who responded with 12 points, seven rebounds six steals and four blocks combined.
1. Marquette junior C Matt Heldt has shown a remarkable improvement at the free-throw line, going from being a 56.1 percent career shooter to 85.7 percent this season (12-of-14).
2. Through Monday’s games, Rowsey ranks second among active players across the country with 298 career 3-pointers, just one behind Central Arkansas’ Jordan Howard, the older brother of the Golden Eagles’ Markus Howard.
3. Anim pulled down a career-high seven boards against Eastern Illinois as the Golden Eagles outrebounded an opponent for just the third time this season.
PREDICTION: Marquette 84, Chicago State 62