Grambling State’s long run of misery was not about to end Tuesday night as Marquette handled the Tigers 114-71 in its final game before No. 10 Ohio State comes to town Saturday.
It was the first time Marquette has broken the century mark since a 101-77 win over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 21, 2010. Grambling has now lost 32 straight games after going 0-28 last year.
“I thought our concentration level was as good as it’s been in a long time in November for any team that we’ve had,” coach Buzz Williams said. “I feel much better about our team tonight after two games than I did after the first game and hopefully we can continue to grow and improve.”
Chris Otule led eight Marquette double-digit scorers with 17 points. Deonte Burton led the freshmen with 14 points after scoring just two points in his debut Friday against Southern.
“My nerves were a lot lower this time out,” Burton said. “I felt more comfortable in playing in the system and it showed.”
As a team, Marquette shot 54.9 percent and made 45 field goals, just three off a program best. Derrick Wilson had 10 of the team’s 33 assists, which also equaled a program record. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over just seven times.
“It’s going to become paramount that you get a shot every possession, maybe more so than it’s ever been,” Williams said, “because if you get a shot every possession, at least there’s a chance you’re going to get fouled.”
After getting 55 of its 63 points from three players, Marquette had a much more balanced scoring attack Tuesday. Jake Thomas knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half and Steve Taylor Jr. scored 16 points while earning his second straight start. He also had 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
“I felt really good today,” Taylor Jr. said. “I don’t know why, but for whatever reason, when I got up, I felt ready to go.”
Davante Gardner wasn’t as effective as Friday night, but still managed to score 10 points in just 14 minutes.
After scoring 20 points – just two off his career high – Todd Mayo had just eight points against Grambling.
The free throw line continued to be a trouble spot, at least statistically, with Marquette going 19-of-31 (61.3 percent) against the Tigers.
Marquette has now missed 32 free throws in two games. It did score 76 points in the paint and 59 off the bench.
“We’ve always been a paint touch-centric team,” Williams said. “Without me having to say it, they are smart enough the ball needs to go down there (the paint). Let’s get it there as soon as we can and then play from there.”
As a team, Marquette’s 114 points were just four off the program record of 118 set against Milwaukee on Jan. 14, 1969. Eight players scored in double digits, while Mayo added eight points.
“You can’t just look at Grambling State and just say ‘It’s Grambling State,’ you have to play every game like it’s your last,” Taylor Jr. said. “I just feel like the type of guys we have, we can shock the world nightly. I think as a team we did pretty good today.”
The 114 points are a new Bradley Center record for Marquette, besting the 106 points it scored against Chicago State on Nov. 17, 2008.