Marquette downs Colgate 84-63 to open the season

Senior Chris Otule scored 11 points in an 84-63 rout of Colgate to open the season. (Photo by A. Martina Ibanez-Baldor)

MILWAUKEE — Marquette extended its streak of season opening wins to 12 with an 84-63 victory over Colgate on Sunday afternoon at the BMO Bradley Center.

“We still have a lot of things to work on as everything wasn’t perfect,” junior Jamil Wilson said. “It was good to put some wind in the sails finally and play against someone else than the guys you play in practice and actually put the jerseys on.”

Marquette’s interior play overwhelmed the Lions as the Golden Eagles outscored them by 30 points in the paint. Junior Davante Gardner poured in 14 while senior Chris Otule added 11 of his own as Marquette’s bigs took advantage of the size disparity.

“I don’t think it was the size advantage … Chris (Otule) and Davante (Gardner) have really gotten better,” coach Buzz Williams noted. “It changes the dimension of our team. I think as time goes, if they’re having to double the post, obviously that creates opprtunity for our perimeter.”

Jamil Wilson led the way with 15 points and four assists in 26 minutes hitting both shots from long distance. Trent Lockett’s debut as a Golden Eagle filled up the stat sheet with seven points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists.

“I’m very pleased,” Williams said of Lockett’s performance. “A lot of people call them hustle plays, we call them favor plays … he makes a lot of favor plays, and he’s a guy I think as time goes on that’s going to be very hard for us to get off the floor.

“Plays really hard, extremely intelligent, plays within himself, is never going to get out of whack and is a great teammate. I anticipate he’ll have a huge role on our team.”

Jamil opened the game with a quick eight points hitting back to back treys from the top of the arc an then converting on two of three free throws after getting fouled on a third three. That extended Marquette’s lead to 12-5 and would reach 16-5 after two more unanswered buckets.

“I took what they gave me,” Wilson said of his aggressive early play. “My team did a good job of finding me when I was open. I felt like those two were open shots and then the third one was in rhythm.”

Colgate didn’t give in though. Its shots began to fall from the outside as it capitalized on its offensive rebound opportunities to draw within  36-31 with just over two minutes to go.

Gardner dominated the paint in his 9 minutes, hitting 4-7 for eight points and hauling in three boards. Otule was also effective inside, scoring seven points and hitting all three shots. Their size advantage helped establish a 28-4 advantage in the paint, as Marquette led 42-31 at the half.

Marquette took control early on in the second half yet again, pushing the lead out to 52-35 and forcing Colgate to call a quick time-out. Yet again, the Lions had an answer, going on a 7-3 run and cutting the lead to 12.

The Golden Eagles remained aggressive and reached the bonus with over 12 minutes left and making most of its freebies. A Junior Cadougan three pushed the lead out to 66-46 and ended the slim possibilities for an upset, as Marquette would cruise to an 84-63 victory.

Juan Anderson had his best game as a Golden Eagle scoring nine points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

He sat out a few minutes in the second half and had his previously injured shoulder examined, but returned to the court a few minutes after.

“It’s fine,” Anderson said. “That was the first time since I’ve been back that I actually had a scare despite how hard and intense our practices are. It was just a scare, just a little bit of scar tissue, nothing serious.”

Williams liked what he saw out of the Oakland native, but wants to see it more often as the season progresses.

“I’ve been telling him the last couple weeks, he needs to put me in a position where I can’t keep him off the floor,” Williams added. “The way he’s going to do that is by doing the things that he did today.”

Cadougan was much more aggressive from three-point land than he had been the past three seasons, scoring on two of his four attempts to finish with nine points and three assists. Marquette’s other veteran guard struggled throughout the game, missing a handful of close shots and notching six points on only 2-8 shooting. The starting duo combined to go 4-16 from the field.

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