Despite another slow start, Golden Eagles fly past Bearcats

After Marquette got off to another one of its patented slow start, the Golden Eagles responded with a 43-17 run the rest of the first half en route to a 95-78 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon.

After a Dion Dixon layup gave Cincinnati (17-8, 7-5 Big East) a 16-4 lead just 4:41 into the game, Marquette (21-5, 10-3 Big East) responded by rattling off eight straight points and eventually took the lead for good at 25-24 after a Todd Mayo free throw with 8:27 left in the first half.

The double-digit deficit – and subsequent Marquette victory – marked the fifth time this season that the Golden Eagles have rallied from a double-digit first half deficit for a victory.

“I think that speaks to who our guys are and I think that that speaks to that I’m doing a bad job of preparing them,” coach Buzz Williams said. “I think the other thing is that our guys get tired of maybe not garnering the respect that they feel as though they deserve.”

For the game, Marquette shot 56.7 percent, its third highest shooting percentage of the season, and allowed Cincinnati to shoot just 43.3 percent.

The Golden Eagles’ 95 points were by far the most an opponent has scored against Cincinnati this year, topping the 78 points Villanova scored in the Bearcats’ 82-78 win on Jan. 14.

Marquette employed a three-quarter-court press for about five minutes in the first half that frustrated Cincinnati, which led to the nine first half turnovers for the Bearcats.

Cincinnati entered the game averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game, but had 14 total for the game. Bearcats’ coach Mick Cronin attributed the turnovers to his team not being mentally ready to play the game.

“They turned up the heat and we didn’t take care of the basketball,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said of the Golden Eagles. “If we were ready to play, we wouldn’t have had guys who are good players turning the ball over.”

Senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom and senior forward Jae Crowder each scored nine points in the first half, and each finished with 23 points.

The duo combined to shoot 18-of-30 from the field and combined for nine of Marquette’s 22 assists.

When redshirt sophomore forward Jamil Wilson picked up his second foul with 7:48 remaining in the first half, sophomore forward Jamail Jones was given a chance to make an impact for the second time in three games.

Jones responded with two 3-pointers, just his fourth and fifth of the season.

“My teammates always give me a boost of confidence,” Jones said. “I come in every day in practice and work and I’m always thinking my name is going to be called when I come into the game.”

Cincinnati turned the ball over nine times in the first half, leading to 16 Marquette points. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, turned the ball over just three times in the first half, which lead to five Bearcats points.

The Bearcats were led by Dixon and junior guard JaQuon Parker, who scored 15 points each.

Wilson and sophomore guard Vander Blue joined Johnson-Odom and Crowder in double digits, scoring 15 and 14 points, respectively.

For Blue, it was the fourth consecutive game scoring in double digits. Last season, Blue scored in double digits in Big East play just once, in a blowout win against DePaul.

Cincinnati entered the game eighth in the nation and second in the Big East in rebounding margin (+4.1) and outrebounded Marquette 42-29, including 21-8 on the offensive glass.

“I really don’t think our undersize makes a difference,” Johnson-Odom said. “We’re going to be the tougher team anyway.”


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Categories: Game Recaps


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