[#10 Juan Anderson saves the ball in first half]
Freshman Deonte Burton has been producing when called upon off the bench showcasing his enormous amounts of strength and athleticism attacking the basket and altering shots defensively. Burton finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals before fouling out late in the game after playing 26 minutes.
[#10 Juan Anderson had 10 pts, 6 Rebs, 6 Steals]
Along with Burton, junior Juan Anderson has really been in a rhythm lately and has taken on a role as the self-proclaimed glue guy for Marquette. Anderson tallied an impressive stat line scoring 10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 assists. "He's starting to play more intelligent," said Derrick Wilson. "He's a high energy guy. He's older now and starting to realize it. He's watching more film and working hard on and off the court and it shows." Anderson's 6 steals were a career-best and he now has 11 steals in the past two games.
[Roomates #12 Derrick Wilson and #10 Anderson celebrate Wilson's first three of the season.]
Both Burton and Anderson connected on back-to-back slam dunks in the first half to break the game open and seize control jumping out to a 42-24 halftime lead. According to Derrick Wilson, "Our defense really helped our offense. More transition points, which is good for us because we have a lot of long, athletic guys who can finish." Marquette had seven players reach double digits in the scoring column as the Golden Eagles improved to 57-3 under head coach Buzz Williams tenure when it shoots better than 50% from the floor. Ball State was led in scoring by 5'9" Zavier Turner's 16 points.
Marquette came to play defensively forcing the Cardinals into 23 turnovers thanks to an aggressive full court press and owned a 41-30 rebounding advantage. Ball State was also the victim of numerous highlight reeled blocks led by Chris Otule with four rejections, which matches his career single game-high. Otule is quietly putting together quite possibly his best season yet as a sixth year senior center benefitting playing alongside in the post with the defending Big East Conference Sixth Man of the Year in Davante Gardner. Otule finished with a team-high 14 points.
If one were to criticize Marquette's 7-4 start, a lot of the blame would fall on the shoulders of Jamil Wilson's lack of consistency and the high expectations that the 2013 recruiting class would greatly contribute immediately. A solid blowout win over Ball State allowed Buzz Williams to play a plethora of roster combinations and try some new things.
[#5 Jajuan Johnson drives to the hoop.]
Freshman JaJuan Johnson poured in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals and could be in the running for more playing time in critical games in the future. Derrick Wilson knocked down his first 3-pointer of the season vs. Ball State, but his 5 assists and on-ball defense is proving to be even more valuable than his offensive production.
QUOTES FROM BUZZ WILLIAMS
[general comments]I thought it was Chris's[Otule's] best game non conference wise[ND game last yr was in conference]…Juan continues to evolve…I think Jajuan and Deonte, had their best overall games…We all need to be held accountable for growth and maturity…build off of game on sat…We have to keep going…we are trying to mature…cannot be 2 forward…1 step back…we are not dancing…
[on the full court Press]…[We are ]trying to get us all engaged…changed complexion of team…get consecutive stops and transition pts…need to extend the pressure…extend the floor…[allows us to]play more guys…for shorter minutes…I don't know who is our long term min guys[at this stage of the season]…
[Juan Anderson] is getting better…play with great energy….[he is a]stats stuffer…need energy not to lead to silliness…[at start of 2H tonight where he made mistakes]…we need to rely on him as a glue guy and an energy guy….he knows that is his role…he has been working at it.
[Todd Mayo came in and out injured]…I think he broke his nose…it did not look good…popped in the nose on drive…
Freshman Duane Wilson was in uniform and active on the roster recovering from a stress fracture leg injury since October, but did not play in the game after returning to practice last week. Sophomore Steve Taylor Jr. also didn't see any action as he's trying to recover from knee surgery in May after having experienced some setbacks recently.
Still looking for a quality win to add to their résumé, Marquette will get their next opportunity Saturday, December 21st when they travel to the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas for a matchup against New Mexico. The Golden Eagles will then have a week off for Christmas before concluding the non-conference portion of their schedule hosting Samford on Dec. 28th.