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Top three performers from Marquette’s win over Wisconsin

Tribune file photo

1. Derrick Wilson: He played 20 minutes, did not attempt a field goal and had three personal fouls. And he was Marquette’s most important player player Saturday afternoon. After news broke just before tip-off that junior point guard Junior Cadougan had been benched for breaking team rules, Wilson was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in his young career. Not the easiest task when it takes place in Madison.

But there Wilson was, taking care of the ball offensively (with another zero-turnover performance, he now has two turnovers in 104 minutes) and played stifling defense on fellow point guard Jordan Taylor. He may or may not have gotten away with a blocking foul that was called a charge on Taylor, but his intensity and determination to keep Taylor in front of him and to extend ball screens was a thing of beauty, and was a main reason the Golden Eagles grabbed a win in Madison.

Freshman Todd Mayo leads all Marquette reserves in minutes played and points.

2. Todd Mayo: Not too shabby when the two best performers of the night are freshmen. Mayo is quickly becoming a player Marquette can not only count on to provide offense, but someone who is expected to score in double figures on most nights. He has the confidence of a senior on the court and isn’t afraid to take any shot. He shot just 6-of-15 from the floor but was monumental in providing baskets after Wisconsin began taking back momentum.

He also provided defense on Taylor, along with Wilson and Vander Blue. Buzz Williams said his defensive game was underrated, and we saw why tonight. He had two silly fouls where he got too aggressive trying to get a steal, but overall he locked down on Taylor.

His floater off the glass late in the game was the play of the year thus far, and could still hold that title by season’s end. Given the situation, the defense on him and the difficulty of the angle on the shot, it was THAT good. He is THAT good.

Tribune file photo

3. Darius Johnson-Odom: At media day, Buzz Williams said the next step Darius Johnson-Odom could take would be to step up and answer the bell of the other team’s “Darius Johnson-Odom.” This afternoon, he did just that. After a relatively quiet first half, Johnson-Odom had an answer for every run Wisconsin took, and he made a pair of huge 18-foot step-backs that silenced the crowd and slowed the Badgers’ momentum.

He knocked down free throws late to seal the game for the Golden Eagles, as well, and finished with a game-high 17 points. This afternoon, Johnson-Odom showed true leadership in an incredibly hostile environment. The senior is ready to take Marquette to the next level.

Honorable mention: Vander Blue: The first half belonged to Blue, who picked up the slack after Johnson-Odom committed his second foul. He had seven points and four rebounds in the opening half, including a huge 3-pointer in Taylor’s face.

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