No. 21 Marquette hosts North Dakota after big Wisconsin win

MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette Golden Eagles went into the Finals break on a high note, knocking off in-state rival and 12th-ranked Wisconsin in overtime.

Now, after a week off, the No. 21 Golden Eagles get back on the court for a pair of non-conference matchups before diving into Big East play beginning Tuesday night against North Dakota.

Forward Joey Hauser was named Big East Freshman of the Week after the Wisconsin game after averaging 15.0 points on 10-of-13 shooting with a 4-for-6 showing from beyond the arc in victories over UTEP and the Badgers. Overall, the 6-foot-9 Hauser is averaging 10.7 points per game this season -- good for third on the team -- and is second with 5.3 rebounds.

"Joey is not a freshman," teammate Markus Howard said after the victory over UW. "It might say on paper that he is a freshman but, to me, he is not a freshman.

"I call him just a basketball player. He plays beyond his years. Just to see the poise he has game-in and game-out is unbelievable."

His older brother, junior forward Sam Hauser, isn't shocked by Joey's quick progress.

"For viewers, it's probably surprising to them," Sam Hauser said. "But for me, I've seen that growing up, so I'm not very surprised at all.

"I figured there would be a little adjustment period here and there. Which there has been. It hasn't been noticeable. He's playing well.

"I think having me around helps him play more comfortable and with ease. And he doesn't put too much pressure on himself."

The Fighting Hawks (6-5) come into the game riding a two-game winning streak, their third of the season, but head coach Brian Jones is still trying to acclimate a roster that includes 11 new players.

"From a record standpoint, I think we're right where we thought we'd be when we put this schedule together," Jones said last week. "We won a game on the road, which is hard to do. But we lost a game at home, which you never want to do.

"But we're making strides. Some days, it's slower than other days. Maybe the needle isn't moving as fast as you'd like it to move, but it's moving."

Cortez Seales is one of the few holdovers in the program. A sophomore on the Hawks' 2016 Big Sky Championship squad that clinched the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, he's now one of just two seniors and helping Jones create a cohesive unit.

"The way these guys compete reminds me of the year we went to the tournament," said Seales, the Hawks' scoring leader with 13.4 points per game. "There were a lot of young guys on that team that were able to compete. We have a competitive nature and as long as we keep a chip on our shoulder, we'll be fine.

"These guys have a lot of potential; that's why they're here."

The two teams have faced off five times previously with Marquette winning each of them. A victory Tuesday would not only be North Dakota's first over Marquette but also the Fighting Hawks' first-ever against a ranked opponent.

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