MILWAUKEE- Marquette was able to rebound from a slow start to overcome Norfolk State in convincing fashion, beating them 99-68 at the Bradley Center on Monday night.
Though they were never behind, the Golden Eagles did see their lead dwindle to a mere five points with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.
Up to that point, MU had only shot 43 percent from the field, committed five turnovers, and had not able to extend their lead to double-digits. Luckily, Marquette was able to find their rhythm and close out the half on a 14-8 run and went into the break leading 40-29.
The Golden Eagles came out of halftime with even more momentum than they went in with. Led by Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, MU was able to open up the second half with a 23-11 run, with Johnson-Odom and Crowder accounting for 18 of Marquette's 23 points.
Crowder and Johnson-Odom stole the spotlight on Monday night as they finished with 25 and 24 points, respectively. Crowder finished with a double-double as he added 10 boards as well.
Buzz Williams didn't downplay the importance of his two star players to Marquette's offense after the game.
"I think that they are important to create help," said Williams. "I think when they create help, it has an impact for the rest of our team and it trends towards [them having] a bunch of assists."
Williams' statement rang true on Monday as Johnson-Odom and Crowder combined for 10 assists.
Also contributing on offense was freshman Todd Mayo, as his back to back threes late in the game helped him raise his point total to 12. Vander Blue had another solid performance on Monday, scoring 14 points and dishing 6 assists.
Aside from the offensive prowess, Marquette was also able to contain Norfolk State's best player Kyle O'Quinn. O'Quinn averaged 16.4 points and 11.1 rebounds last year but was held to only 4 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes of play in the Spartans' season opener. He fouled out with more than 12 minutes remaining in the second half, completely dashing the Spartans' hopes to mount a comeback.
The Golden Eagles are looking to continue their winning ways at the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Tournament this weekend. Their first game of the tournament will be against Winthrop on Friday at 7:30 pm CT.
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