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Senior duo provides spark to keep Marquette alive

Within Marquette struggling late against 14-seed Davidson this afternoon, two of its seniors were playing quite possibly their best games of the year.

Redshirt senior Chris Otule had his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, while senior Trent Lockett had five points to go with an impressive 11 rebounds in a game-high 38 minutes.

Otule and Lockett combined for 22 of Marquette’s 41 rebounds, and had 11 of the team’s 17 offensive boards.

Chris Otule

The 6 foot 11 Otule is expected to be active and effective on the glass, and did so in a big way on Thursday. In the first half alone, he tied his career-high with nine rebounds. It was in the second half when the redshirt senior center scored nine points, the final two of which came with 5:23 left in a closely-contested game.

Cadougan missed a lay-up, but Otule was able to tip in the rebound. The basket came when Marquette was down by nine, their largest deficit of the game, when the Golden Eagles needed it most.

Also adding four blocks, Otule was very impressive defensively, controlling the paint and altering Davidson’s shots plenty of times, even if he didn’t record an official block in the box score.

“I thought that Chris’ physicality, Chris’ length, and his strength all were really important,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “He made really big baskets to begin the second half, and I thought his offensive rebounds were absolutely critical. And there were two or three offensive rebounds that turned into scrums for loose balls that turned into alternating possessions.”

Having missed a full season in his Marquette career and all but the first nine games of last season, Thursday’s game was only Otule’s fourth in five years in the NCAA Tournament. After breaking both of his feet on separate occasions and last year’s knee injury, Otule has earned a performance like today.

“So happy for him, considering all that he has had to overcome,” Williams said.

Trent Lockett

Even though Lockett wasn’t living up to fans’ expectations of him earlier in the season, he was still playing.

The senior’s performance against Davidson was all about what Lockett has done for Marquette this season. He played tough defense, scored when needed, and provided what Williams calls “winning plays.”

On Thursday afternoon at Rupp Arena, Lockett played like a winner.

Lockett grabbed critical rebounds, forced loose balls, and provided a boost of energy for Marquette. It’s no coincidence Lockett played 38 of the 40 minutes in the second round thriller.

“I mean, I can’t take him out,” Williams said. “I’m looking out there at him and the pace of the game, obviously, was a grind, but they’re just literally knocking his head off on every down screen and he just keeps going, keeps going, offensive rebound, loose ball, scrum, our possession, their possession.”

It’s not often that a 6-foot-5 guard pulls down 11 rebounds in 38 minutes. Lockett is the team’s second leading rebounder, though. He has been battling for Marquette on the glass all season long.

Lockett came to Marquette as a scorer. He was the guy that would go a long way in replacing the points the Golden Eagles lost in Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. While he hasn’t done that, Lockett has become an extremely valuable part of this Marquette team.

“He had more rebounds than he had shots attempted in 38 minutes,” Williams said. “The two kids that were here (Blue and Wilson), they were 9-of-28. How about that?”

The Golden Valley, Minn. native came to Marquette to be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer in the early part of 2012. She was in Lexington for the Golden Eagles’ game today, and was able to see her son help his team advance in the NCAA Tournament.

“(I am) so proud of him. So thankful that he’s here,” Williams said. “Just have so much admiration for the diligence and the consistency of who he is as a human and who he is as a worker.”

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Categories: Analysis

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One Comment on “Senior duo provides spark to keep Marquette alive”

  1. March 21, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    Matt, Davidson was a #14 seed.
    -Mike

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