Rowsey, Howard help Marquette down VCU

Marquette’s Markus Howard puts up a shot between Virginia Commonwealth’s Marcus Santos-Silva and Xavier Jackson during the first half of the Golden Eagles’ 94-83 win over the Rams on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

Marquette’s Markus Howard puts up a shot between Virginia Commonwealth’s Marcus Santos-Silva and Xavier Jackson during the first half of the Golden Eagles’ 94-83 win over the Rams on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

LAHAINA — Virginia Commonwealth had weathered a scoring barrage from Marquette’s Andrew Rowsey and stayed in the game. Then the Golden Eagles’ Markus Howard stepped in.

Rowsey’s 15 first-half points and Howard’s 18 in the second half bookended Marquette’s 94-83 victory over VCU on Monday in the opening game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

“Both those kids are very dynamic scorers,” said Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski, whose team improved to 2-1. “Obviously they’re recognized for their ability to shoot. But in my mind they’re much more than shooters. At any point they can go on a one-man run.”

Howard finished with 22 points and Rowsey had 20 as Marquette advanced to a semifinal meeting today with Wichita State, ranked sixth in the nation by The Associated Press. The Rams (2-2) will take on California in a consolation matchup.

Sam Hauser also scored 20 points for the Golden Eagles, and had nine rebounds.

Marquette’s Theo John dunks over VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva in the second half.

Marquette’s Theo John dunks over VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva in the second half.

VCU got 17 points from Malik Crowfield. Justin Tillman finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Crowfield scored eight straight points as the Rams, helped by their pressure defense, took an early 10-3 lead.

“Credit is due to VCU,” Wojciechowski said. “That’s what they do. They have great quickness, and they’re relentless in their pressure.”

Khris Lane’s layup put VCU ahead 47-45 less than two minutes into the second half. Marquette wrestled the lead away for good when Howard’s 3-pointer broke a 51-51 tie with just over 15 minutes left.

Howard, who was 2-for-8 from the field in the first half, said he focused on “not really getting discouraged and letting the game come to me.”

“I missed a couple shots and I can’t really even think about it. I have to move on to the next play,” Howard said. “My coaches really helped me in that aspect. … Knowing in the second half it’s like a start-over, (you) hit your restart button.”

Marquette had a 40-33 rebounding advantage, with 15 offensive rebounds.

“They did a great job of getting more opportunities that I think it really cost us,” said VCU coach Mike Rhoades. “(We) put ourselves in a tough position, giving really good shooters extra shots over and over again.”

Every player Marquette used had at least one offensive rebound, which Wojciechowski called “one of the silent stories of the game.”

“We won the game because of our offensive rebound,” Wojciechowski said. “A lot of times, just because we don’t have great size inside, it’s not necessarily going to be a putback, but we want to try to get 3s when we get offensive boards, and we were able to do that today.”

* Colleen Uechi is at cuechi@mauinews.com.

MARQUETTE (94)

Heldt 2-2 0-0 4, Cheatham 5-10 2-5 13, Howard 9-20 0-0 22, Rowsey 4-13 9-9 20, Hauser 7-13 2-2 20, Cain 1-1 0-0 3, John 3-3 0-1 6, Elliott 0-0 0-0 0, Anim 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 34-66 13-17 94.

VCU (83)

Tillman 6-11 1-2 15, Lane 2-3 2-3 6, Jenkins 3-11 3-5 11, Williams 3-8 3-4 9, Crowfield 6-10 0-0 17, Mobley 1-3 0-0 3, Vann 3-8 1-1 7, Santos-Silva 2-3 0-0 4, Maye 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 0-1 2-2 2, Simms 4-10 1-2 9. Totals 30-68 13-19 83.

Halftime–Marquette 45-44. 3-Point Goals–Marquette 13-36 (Hauser 4-9, Howard 4-13, Rowsey 3-10, Cain 1-1, Cheatham 1-3), VCU 10-26 (Crowfield 5-7, Tillman 2-3, Jenkins 2-7, Mobley 1-1, Lane 0-1, Williams 0-2, Simms 0-2, Vann 0-3). Fouled Out–John. Rebounds–Marquette 39 (Hauser 9), VCU 28 (Tillman 7). Assists–Marquette 18 (Howard 7), VCU 13 (Williams 6). Total Fouls–Marquette 18, VCU 19.

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