Marquette has struggled to pick up resume-building wins against ranked teams and major conference opponents early in the season and now faces a tough test against a mid-major power when Vermont visits Tuesday. The Golden Eagles do have a win over LSU but also owns losses to Purdue, Wichita State and Georgia, which claimed a 73-66 triumph at Marquette on Saturday.
Sophomore standout Markus Howard scored 29 points but his teammates combined to go 11-for-40 from the floor in a sloppy effort. “We have to be a better decision-making team,” coach Steve Wojciechowski told reporters. “We have to listen. When coaches and the bench is yelling something out, we have to try to run it.” The Catamounts have sandwiched two four-point road losses around a six-game winning streak, falling at Kentucky to start the season and then again at Bucknell on Saturday. “The guys showed amazing fight tonight, but we’ve been playing with fire a little bit this year and we weren’t able to pull this one out,” Vermont coach John Becker told the Burlington Free Press. “We need to learn from this and get better execution on both ends in order to beat good teams on the road.”
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ABOUT VERMONT (6-2): The Catamounts are led by sophomore forward Anthony Lamb, who paces the team in scoring (14.9) and rebounding (6.5), and reigning America East Player of the Year Trae Bell-Haynes (12.3 points, team-high five assists per game). Guard Ernie Duncan is the team’s top perimeter threat and is averaging 15 points while making 10-of-17 3-pointers over his last three games. Senior forward Drew Urquhart provides a spark off the bench with 8.1 points in 18.6 minutes, making all six of his shots in a three-game stretch to improve his field-goal percentage to 74.2.
ABOUT MARQUETTE (5-3): Leading scorer Andrew Rowsey was held to 15 points - nearly eight below his average - and had six of the Golden Eagles’ 12 turnovers against Georgia. Rowsey did hand out six assists and also leads the team in that category with 4.3 per game, while sophomore Sam Hauser is the top rebounder with six per contest after hauling in nine in Saturday’s loss. Junior center Matt Heldt missed all six of his shots in Saturday’s setback after making 13-of-16 to start the season.
1. Howard entered Monday tied for fourth in the nation with 76 3-point attempts and is making 39.5 percent from long range.
2. Lamb is averaging 18.6 points on 58.7 percent shooting and 7.6 rebounds over the last five games.
3. The Golden Eagles won the only prior meeting between the teams 89-58 on Dec. 22, 1995.
PREDICTION: Marquette 74, Vermont 69