On the day Marquette honored alum and retiring NBA superstar Dwyane Wade at Fiserv Forum, Markus Howard and brothers Sam and Joey Hauser did their best imitation of Wade and his teammates Travis Diener and Steve Novak, coming from behind to lead the No. 15 Golden Eagles over Providence, 79-68.
After Howard scored the first two points of the game, Marquette (16-3, 5-1 BIG EAST) wouldn't lead again until the 13:11 mark in the second half. While both teams looked sluggish in the first half of the 11 a.m. CST start, Providence (11-7, 1-4 BIG EAST) led by as many as nine and held a 33-25 lead during the emotional halftime ceremony honoring Wade. Marquette shot just 28 percent before the break and was outrebounded, 27-14.
Marquette came out refreshed in the second half, though, going on a 15-6 run to retake the lead, 40-39. The game seesawed back and forth before Marquette took the lead for good with a 7-0 run beginning at 9:59. The Friars would stay within two points as late as the five-minute mark, but Marquette went on an 11-2 tear over the next two and a half minutes to seal the victory, with the final nine points of said run scored by the Hauser brothers.
Sam Hauser led Marquette in scoring for the second-straight game with 25 points after taking the mantle of MU's top shooter when Howard left Marquette's Jan. 15 road win over Georgetown with back tightness. Howard was questionable to play before this game, but scored 24 points, despite hitting just four of 15 shots. Joey Hauser joined his brother in double-digits with 11, though six of those points came in the final four minutes and were key in securing the win. Nate Watson scored 21 points to lead the Friars and Alpha Diallo scored 16 before fouling out.
A sold-out Fiserv Forum crowd of 17,524 not only came to cheer the current Marquette team but also to recognize Wade, who helped lead Marquette to the Final Four in his second and final year with the program in 2003. Festivities included Mayor Tom Barrett proclaiming Dwyane Wade Day throughout Milwaukee, Wade's sons making a surprise appearance to present Wade with his letter jacket, Wade being given his retired number banner from the partially demolished Bradley Center and Wade being named the Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the university. Marquette was one of only three programs to offer Wade a scholarship and he would need one non-playing year to improve his studies before being academically eligible. He then needed only two college seasons, though, to lead Marquette to a Conference USA championship and back to the Final Four for the first time since 1977. The fifth pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Wade went on to be a three-time NBA champion, 12-time all-star and Olympic gold medalist in his post-Marquette career, in addition to one of the most recognizable and popular players in the world.
Marquette remains unbeaten in 13 games at Fiserv Forum. It will put that perfect record back on the line again Wednesday when it faces an improved DePaul team, who will enter with a 3-3 BIG EAST record. The game will get underway at 7:30 p.m. CST.
Photo: Getty Images