No. 10 Marquette rid itself of its Hinkle Fieldhouse demons in a big-time way Wednesday night, getting a road win against Butler, 76-58, at the historic facility.
On a day when both Marquette and Butler's academic campuses were closed due to record-setting cold throughout the Midwest, the two teams' play matched the frigid weather for the first 15 minutes before MU and Markus Howard took control of the game. Howard scored the final 11 points of a 13-6 Marquette run to conclude the first half and give the Golden Eagles a 34-25 halftime lead. The lead would grow as large as 17 before Butler would go on an 11-0 run to cut the advantage to six, 51-45, with 10:02 left. Marquette answered back, though, with a 12-0 run of its own, highlighted by six more Howard points, to shut down any Bulldog hopes of coming back.
Howard led Marquette (19-3, 8-1 BIG EAST) with 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting, with 19 of those points coming in the first half. Sam Hauser hit six of his seven shots in scoring 19 points of his own, while his brother, Joey, had a team-high eight rebounds to go with four points. Theo John failed to crack the scoreboard, but did record four blocks. John's five boards made him one of five Marquette players with five or more rebounds, joining Joey Hauser, Ed Morrow, Jr. (6), Sam Hauser (5) and Howard (5). Butler (12-10, 3-6 BIG EAST) was led by Kamar Baldwin, who scored 16 points but hit just five of his 15 shots. Marquette shot 57 percent as a team compared to Butler's 33 percent shooting, while also outrebounding the Bulldogs, 37-30.
It was the first time Marquette got a road win at Butler since the Bulldogs joined the re-formed BIG EAST Conference in 2013 and, overall, since 1990. In the previews two meetings between the two teams at Hinkle, Marquette surrendered second-half leads in the process of losing.
MU gets nearly a week to rest and fight the polar vortex before facing the only team that's beaten it in conference play thus far, St. John's, next Tuesday at a place where it has yet to lose, Fiserv Forum. That game will tip at 7 p.m. CST.