Otule shines as Marquette knocks off Fighting Irish

Marquette shot a scorching 59.6 percent from the field to knock off Notre Dame 72-64 Saturday afternoon to clinch a double bye in the Big East Tournament for the second straight year.

Senior Chris Otule led the way with 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting, including a huge basket and a foul with 3:17 left to give Marquette a 64-53 lead. Otule, playing in what could be his final home game, is now 28-of-33 from the field in his last five games.

When asked what the difference was between Otule’s play in practice, where his teammates say he dominates, and games, coach Buzz Williams wasn’t sure how to respond.

“Maybe the best response I could give is maybe the pace, the fuel, the ambience,” Williams said. “Your skills don’t change, but the things around you change.”

The 6-foot-10 senior has already been granted a sixth year of eligibility, but hasn’t decided if he will use it or not.

With the win, Marquette also clinched an undefeated home campaign and has now won 25 straight at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Cadougan said he will miss the fuel he got from Marquette fans the most from his time in Milwaukee.

“I’ll remember having fun with my teammates, playing hard and Marquette fans getting me going, getting me amped up and preparing for game days and shootarounds,” Cadougan said. “It’s crazy how it’s over already and I feel like I just got here.”

The Golden Eagles led by as much as 16 points in the first half after a Todd Mayo jumper made it 37-21 with 4:29 left. Marquette led 41-27 at half and shot 64.3 percent from the field in the first stanza.

Marquette attempted 18 free throws and had just three offensive rebounds. Notre Dame took 19 free throws and had 13 offensive rebounds.

The game wasn’t close until Marquette finally went cold after a Jamil Wilson three made it 56-41 with 10:53 left. Notre Dame then went on an 8-1 run before a Vander Blue layup with 5:40 left pushed the Golden Eagles’ lead back to 10.

The Fighting Irish then cut the lead to 59-51 after a Zach August dunk, but Jamil Wilson answered with a basket and a foul on the other end with 4:13 to play to make it 62-51.

After another basket from Auguste, Otule rebounded a Vander Blue jumper and scored while getting fouled to make it 64-53 with 3:17 left.

After a pair of Trent Lockett free throws, Jerian Grant hit a three and was fouled on another three moments later, but made just one of three free throws.

Grant led Notre Dame with 18 points and Eric Atkins chipped in 16.

Marquette improved to 21-7 with the win and remained a game behind Georgetown for first place in the Big East. The Hoyas host Rutgers later this evening.

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