By Dan Gardella
Brooklyn, NY – Preseason tournaments can tend to be staples in a team’s schedule. It is an early indication to see how your team matches up with the other blue blood programs in the nation as well as solid mid-major programs. In the third place game of the NIT Season Tip-Off, a pair of old conference foes battled in Brooklyn.
But it became a family affair to help Marquette conclude their tournament with a 1-1 record.
It took a season-high 22 points from Sam Hauser and big plays down the stretch for his brother Joey Hauser helped the Golden Eagles take down the Louisville Cardinals 77-74 in overtime Friday night.
Both teams entered the first of two games on the evening looking to rebound from disappointing losses for both teams. Louisville hung tough with Tennessee before sitting on the wrong end of a 17-2 run late to fall, and Marquette did not score a basket for the first nine and a half minutes of the second half in their loss to Kansas.
Although it was a battle of former Big East foes, the coaches were more than familiar with each other. Chris Mack, who joined Louisville after an extended time with Xavier in the newly configured Big East went up against his old conference mate on the sideline.
“There is some familiarity on both sides,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “They are not entirely the same team he had the last couple of seasons at Xavier. But a lot of the offensive sets are the same, they play hard of defense, the way they attack the offensive boards. All of those are typical of a Chris Mack coached team.”
Early on, both teams struggled from the field, something that was a factor in their respective losses. Amid their slumps, Louisville would control the lead and even get it to as much as seven midway through the half. In fact, the Cardinals would lead for 16 of the 20 minutes and head to the locker room at halftime leading 35-30.
Sam Hauser paced the Marquette offense with 12 in the opening half with two makes from behind the arc. For Marquette, they needed to convert from the inside and avoiding living (and ultimately dying) form the three.
Unlike last night, they got that contribution from Theo John and the younger Hauser brother.
After only playing 14 minutes in their loss to Kansas, John, who got the start again poured in 10 points along with grabbing 6 rebounds while most important, playing good defense.
Joey Hauser on the other hand, who can shoot as well as his brother hit the glass late to ensure his team got a chance at winning.
With 15 seconds to play, down two, Markus Howard missed a jumper to tie it. But Hauser was waiting on the right side the basket to clean up the miss and knot the game at 68. After a last second attempt on the other end which was not able to be converted, both teams headed for overtime.
“I say it time and time again, he doesn’t play like a freshman,” junior guard Markus Howard said.
From there, Marquette only trailed in the extra period for 12 seconds but still needed defensive stop after defensive stop to win. With 30 seconds to play and trailing by one, Louisville guard V.J. King drove to bucket in hopes of giving the Cardinals the lead. He was then met by Sam Hauser who deflected the shot and getting to the free throw line to extend their lead.
Though down three, there was still one last hope to tie the game and give the Cardinals a chance to win in double overtime. With time running down, Christen Cunningham, who had been spot on from downtown missed one three from the right key, ran down his own rebound and then missed on a fadeaway three as time expired to give the Golden Eagles the win.
“This was a huge win,” Wojciechowski said. “They are a terrific team, well coached. We won a game where offense didn’t come easy for us.”
Louisville, who drops both of their games in the tournament return to the KFC Yum Center to face off with Michigan State in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Although they leave Brooklyn 0-2, they have their heads held high.
“We’re a resilient team. I love these guys and we’re going to continue to get better,” Mack said.
Photo: Sam Hauser/marquetteathletics