Marquette was able to survive without preseason All-American senior guard Markus Howard at Fiserv Forum last night, getting 13 first-half points from fellow senior Sacar Animen route to a 46-23 halftime lead and 75-56 win over Jacksonville.
Marquette (6-2) announced Howard’s absence due to being in concussion protocol after he appeared in street clothes during warmups. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski indicated Howard “banged his head” after the team’s return from its runner-up finish in the Orlando Invitational, but didn’t say exactly when, nor did he speculate if Howard would be cleared for Marquette’s next game at Kansas State. Howard also sat out games with concussion symptoms as a freshman in 2016 and reportedly missed two weeks of time due to a concussion as a high school senior in 2015.
Anim quickly ended any worries about Marquette’s ability to put away Jacksonville without Howard by scoring seven of the game’s first nine points and 11 of MU’s first 14 as MU went up, 14-4, just six minutes into the game. Marquette’s lead would never sink lower than double-digits after the eight-minute mark in the first half and hovered around 20 most of the second half.
Anim finished with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Junior forwards Theo John, 11 points and seven rebounds, and Jamal Cain, eight points and 12 rebounds, helped carry Marquette.
Destin Barnes led Jacksonville (4-6) with 12 points while Bryce Workman added 10.
The Kansas State contest will tip off at 8 p.m. Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.