MILWAUKEE (AP) — Marquette is losing its single-season scoring leader but heading into the offseason with hope for the future.
Andrew Rowsey is the only senior on a roster that otherwise had to rely heavily on freshmen and sophomores. A year after making the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles had to settle for a 21-win season that culminated with a trip to the NIT quarterfinals.
Rowsey leaves on a record-setting note. His 716 points sets the single-season mark held previously by Dwyane Wade. The senior also tied a season high with six 3-pointers in the 85-80 loss to Penn State on Tuesday, finishing with 125 3s on the season to set the record previously held by Steve Novak.
“Our program’s not in a position to really take off without Andrew,” coach Steve Wojchiechowski said.
Rowsey ended the year averaging a team-high 20.5 points, edging out backcourt partner Markus Howard (20.4 points). Six-foot-8 forward Sam Hauser scored 14.1 points and did a little bit of everything for Marquette, starting all 35 games in spite of being bothered by a hip injury all season.
Howard and Hauser figure to reassume their leading roles as juniors next season, when Hauser’s younger brother, Joey, will be eligible. He graduated from high school early and enrolled at Marquette this semester, redshirting as he recovers from ankle surgery.
The younger Hauser is a decorated recruit, as is Brendan Bailey, who will also arrive in Milwaukee in the fall after completing a two-year Mormon mission. Both Hauser and Bailey are listed at 6-8, giving Wojciechowski more length on the roster.
Center Matt Heldt will be the only senior next year, though Howard and Hauser will provide leadership developed from two years of starting experience.
Finishing his fourth season on the sideline, Wojciechowski has also developed depth at the wing in sophomore Sacar Anim and freshman Jamal Cain. Another freshman, 6-3 Greg Elliott, has already showed promised as a defender and could give the backcourt more size if he replaces Rowsey as starter.
A third freshman, 6-9 Theo John, gave Marquette some quality minutes off the bench in the lane. Six-7 forward Ed Morrow, a transfer from Nebraska who played in 54 games for the Cornhuskers, also becomes eligible in 2018-19.
Lots of options in what could be an important season for Wojciechowski. The NCAA Tournament should be an attainable goal with quality newcomers joining so many returnees.
They can all take lessons from the way Rowsey played as his college days came to a close.
“In the NIT, I thought you saw a guy who didn’t want his career to be over with,” Wojciechowski said. “Sometimes you want to have that from the very start. That’s how good teams, good players approach college basketball season.”
More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events