Marquette Hosts Arizona St. Tuesday Night At 8 p.m. CT
Dec. 14, 2014
TV Info: FOX Sports 1 | Radio Info: 540 ESPN
The Marquette University men’s basketball team (4-4, 0-0 BIG EAST) continues its season-long five-game homestand Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT when the squad welcomes Arizona State (6-3, 0-0 Pac-12) to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. FOX Sports 1 features Marquette’s eighth national television broadcast of the campaign, with Tim Brando (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (analyst) calling the action. Following Tuesday’s action, the Golden Eagles will host Alabama A&M on Friday, Dec. 19 in the first-ever game at the Al McGuire Center.
Despite Limited Meetings, MU Familiar With ASU
While Marquette and Arizona State have met just three times on the court in program history, there will be plenty of warm greetings prior to the introductions Tuesday night.
Marquette assistant coach Mark Phelps was an assistant for current ASU head coach Herb Sendek for a total of 12 years. Phelps spent 10 seasons (1996-2006) as an assistant at N.C. State before serving two years (2011-13) as associate head coach with the Sun Devils.
Justin Gainey, Marquette’s director of basketball operations, played under Sendek and Phelps with the Wolfpack and helped lead the team to the ACC Tournament championship game in 1997, a run that included a win over No. 1 seed Duke and Steve Wojciechowski.
ASU’s Tim Wells (director of player development) played with Gainey at N.C. State and assistant coach Stan Johnson previously served in the same position under Phelps (five seasons as head coach) at Drake. Current MU assistant Brett Nelson was also an assistant with the Bulldogs under Phelps.
Wojciechowski and Sendek are obviously very familiar with each other, having met for 10 seasons in ACC competition as a player and coach.
Roster Changes Leave MU With Limited Options
While the Golden Eagles do add the services of center Luke Fischer Tuesday night against Arizona State, sophomores Deonte Burton and John Dawson left the program at the conclusion of the first semester and will transfer.
The departures leave Marquette with just eight active scholarship players and a total of nine with the addition of walk-on Pete Thaus. Fischer is eligible after transferring from Indiana mid-season in 2013-14.
Burton had appeared in all eight of the team’s games this season and contributed 6.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game off the bench in 16.1 minutes per outing. Dawson played in the team’s season-opening win over UT Martin this year after seeing action in 24 games off the bench in 2013-14.
Marquette Defense Frequently Forcing Turnovers
While the team has mixed in a variety of defenses early in 2014-15, one thing that has been consistent is the team’s ability to create turnovers.
The Golden Eagles are currently forcing 16.4 miscues per game, while turning it over just 11.3 times per contest. Through games of Dec. 13, that differential (5.1) ranks 16th in the nation.
Marquette has yet to finish a game in 2014-15 with more turnovers than its opponents and the team is averaging 17.5 points per outing off of opposing mistakes.
Fischer Set To Make Marquette Debut
Sophomore center Luke Fischer, who transferred to Marquette from Indiana after the first semester in 2013-14, was the one player actually looking forward to finals week.
The Germantown, Wis., native is now eligible to compete for the Golden Eagles after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. His addition to the lineup gives the team a stronger post presence and the ability to feature a player taller than 6-7 in the regular rotation.
Fischer appeared in 13 games off the bench for the Hoosiers prior to his transfer and chipped in 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest in 10.0 minutes per night.
Marquette-Arizona State Meeting For Fourth Time
Marquette has claimed two of the three all-time meetings with Arizona State, but the Sun Devils were able to edge the Golden Eagles 79-77 last season in the most recent matchup.
MU had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but guard Derrick Wilson’s shot was blocked and time expired. Forward Davante Gardner led four players in double figures with 18 points and Jake Thomas hit five treys in the second half to finish with 16 points and help Marquette rally after trailing by as many as 15 points.
The two teams first met on Dec. 29, 1981 in the Milwaukee Classic and MU posted a 74-68 victory. Marquette then posted a 71-65 win at ASU on Jan. 4, 1993.
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