Ducks routed in NIT second round
MILWAUKEE — Marquette senior Andrew Rowsey raised his arms in the air and yelled for spectators to make noise after sending a towering lob to teammate Jamal Cain, who finished off the play with a monstrous dunk over Oregon on Sunday.
The slam gave the second-seeded Golden Eagles a 21-point lead with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third quarter against the third-seeded Ducks during the second round of the NIT.
Marquette fans at Al McGuire Center had plenty to cheer for during their team’s 101-92 rout, which sealed a Tuesday home quarterfinal date with Penn State (ESPN). The NIT title game is March 29 at Madison Square Garden. The tournament features a few experimental rules that include four 10-minute quarters and an extended 3-point line.
Oregon wrapped up its season with a 23-13 overall record, a middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 squad that managed to extend its season after beating Rider in the first round of the NIT.
Rowsey erupted for 29 points — including 15 in the first quarter, all on 3s — and added nine assists. He was 6 of 11 from deep for the Golden Eagles (21-13), who owned a 30-19 advantage after the first 10 minutes and a 58-38 edge by halftime.
Markus Howard added 18 points (with four triples), Theo John 13 points and Sacar Anim 12 points for Marquette, which led by as many 25 points with 8:06 to go in the contest.
“We came out firing on all cylinders,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said.
The Golden Eagles earned a 30-15 advantage in points off turnovers and a 36-15 edge in fastbreak points.
“I think our activity on defense was good,” the former Duke assistant said. “We wanted to be in attack mode and for 32 minutes of the game we were. That is the mindset we had coming into this game.”
Senior Mikyle McIntosh went for a career-high 25 points and was 15-of-18 at the free-throw line for the Ducks, whose first and only meeting with Marquette came in 1928 (the Golden Eagles won, 16-15).
“We came out of the game kinda slow,” McIntosh said. “Too many turnovers, too many fastbreak points for them, and they capitalized. They shoot the ball really well and we knew that coming in. It was the wrong day to have a lot of turnovers to a team like that, a really good team.”
Rowsey’s four-point play put the Golden Eagles ahead 21-11 in the first quarter and sent the 3,600-capacity arena into a buzz. He had 22 by intermission.
“That first half we just got blitzed,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “We didn’t get any stops, and (were) just really stuck in the mud defensively. ... Definitely we didn’t communicate. They got a lot of open shots and just really picked us apart. ... (When Rowsey) gets those 3s going he’s awfully difficult to guard. He’s really good with the ball.”
Added McIntosh: “When a guy gets hot like that, you try to take away his shot and do different things, but he found his teammates and his teammates made shots too.”
Paul White added 19 points, Payton Pritchard 16 points and four steals and Victor Bailey Jr. 11 points for Oregon, which was 10-8 in the Pac-12. Getting postseason games was a bonus, Altman said.
“We played a couple games and got some freshman some minutes,” he said. “Playing an extra game never hurts you.”
Pritchard’s difficult layup with 1:50 left trimmed the deficit to 11, but it was too little, too late.
The Ducks can now starting thinking about looking ahead to the 2018-19 season.
“It will take a couple weeks to reflect on (the season),” Altman said. “I don’t think defensively we made the strides we should have made, not only tonight but throughout the season. We lost a number of close games where we didn’t get stops. So, we’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do in the offseason, there’s no doubt about that.”
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