Sloppy Bulls no match for Golden Eagles

Turning the ball over 22 times is never a recipe for winning a game. Particularly when the opposing team turns the ball over just five times.

That was the case for South Florida (12-9, 5-3 Big East) on Tuesday night, who got a reality check from Marquette (17-4, 6-2 Big East) in a 67-47 loss at the Bradley Center, marking coach Buzz Williams’ 100th win as a head coach and 86th at Marquette.

The Golden Eagles turned those 22 turnovers into 20 points and held a 20-3 advantage in points off turnovers.

“I thought it was as efficient as we’ve been on both ends of the floor in league play,” Williams said. “I think our energy and our concentration level has been really, really good since the spring semester started.

“I just think we’re in a really good groove.”

The 22 turnovers by South Florida were the Bulls most have committed this season, topping a 21-turnover performance in a 68-66 overtime loss to Old Dominion on Nov. 19.

Senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom led Marquette with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting and was one of three Golden Eagles in double figures.

Junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led the Bulls with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, but leading scorer junior guard Jawanza Poland finished with just two points on 0-for-6 shooting.

Poland entered Tuesday’s game averaging 12.0 points per game.

South Florida entered the game with outstanding defensive numbers, including leading the Big East in points allowed per game at 57.7 and were allowing opponents to shoot just 40.5 percent from the field.

Marquette finished with 67 points and shot just 39.7 percent from the floor, but never had any issues dispatching South Florida, largely due to the Bulls’ embarrassing offensive numbers and 22-to-5 turnover ratio.

“The things we had been doing so well in the past, we didn’t do tonight,” South Florida coach Stan Heath said. “We turned the ball over way too much and they (Marquette) feed off of that, they (Marquette) feed off of your mistakes.”

South Florida shot just 35.6 percent from the field, including just 4-of-14 from three-point range.

The Bulls entered the game with plenty of momentum, having won three games in a row and five of its last six, including wins at Villanova and at home against Seton Hall over that span.

In each of those games, however, South Florida shot better than 43.8 percent from the field in each of those wins, and scored at least 56 points.

Marquette’s five turnovers were a season low, besting its nine-turnover performance in an 88-56 win over Jacksonville on Nov. 28.

Senior forward Jae Crowder and sophomore forward Davante Gardner each finished with 15 points for Marquette.

Gardner increased his scoring average in Big East play to 12.6 points per game, and his seven rebounds upped his average to 7.1 rebounds per game in conference play.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jamil Wilson continued his strong performance of late, scoring eight points, while blocking three shots.

With the win, Marquette is now alone in third place in the Big East, but Johnson-Odom wasn’t satisfied with where the team stood in the standings.

“It doesn’t mean nothing, we’ve got to keep winning,” Johnson-Odom said. “We have to keep pushing, keep working hard and not slow down.” 


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    […] Marquette took care of business last night beating South Florida 67-47 at the Bradley Center. […]

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