Wojo's 1st Coaching win:Marq 79 UT Martin 63

Coach Heath Schroyer came into the BMO Harris Bradley Center with a gameplan destined to be imitated by Marquette’s opponents all season long. Even against a mid-major in Tennessee Martin, the Golden Eagles had their struggles defending the paint.The Skyhawks of the Ohio Valley Conference attacked the post early and often in Marquette’s 79-63 season-opening win.

Eventually, however, the Golden Eagles were able to run past the competition thanks to a well-balanced attack and trademark speed in transition.

Sophomore Jajuan Johnson got the start and shined with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and four steals. Johnson’s increased confidence was on full display, as was senior Juan Anderson’s as the captain finished second in scoring for the Golden Eagles with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Sophomore Deonte Burton scored 10 points off the bench including a pair of 3-pointers. In all Marquette knocked down 10 of its 23 attempts (43.5 percent) from behind the 3-point line.

[Matt Carlino had 11 pts and 7 assists]

Junior Steve Taylor Jr. added five rebounds and eight points in the paint, graduate senior Matt Carlino dished seven assists and scored 11 points and redshirt freshman Duane Wilson chipped in six points to go with four assists. Freshman Sandy Cohen III contributed a pair of second-half threes and finished with eight points.

Marquette got off to a better start offensively than it did against Wisconsin Lutheran, shooting 46.4 percent (13 for 28) from the field in the first half. After a hot start from beyond the arc, however, Marquette made just four of its 12 first-half 3-point attempts.

UT Martin’s Marshun Newell buried a 3-pointer over Duane Wilson, who was late getting over, to give the Skyhawks a 16-13 lead with 12:13 left in the half. It would be the visitors’ largest lead of the night.

[Co-Captain Juan Anderson 16 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, 4 Steals vs Tenn Martin]

Marquette closed the half on a 25-14 run, but headed to the locker room with a single-digit 38-30 lead. The Skyhawks managed to hang around thanks to 10 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes, while outrebounding the Golden Eagles 21-15.

Anderson tipped off the second half with a quick layup in transition, but after a Skyhawk turnover the senior forward was hit in the face. He remained in the game and knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game moments later to give Marquette a 13-point lead, its largest to that point.

From there, the Golden Eagles kept UT Martin at bay, running away with a nice victory to formally get the Steve Wojciechowski era rolling. The win represented a second-straight performance in which the team seemed to identify and correct mistakes made in the first half to finish the game strong in the second.

[Steve Wojciechowski leads MU to the win]

While they ultimately lost the battle of the boards 34-25, the Golden Eagles battled to outscore the Skyhawks 28-26 in the paint and scored 22 points off 18 UT Martin turnovers including 14 points off the fast break. They held their opponent to eight assists while assisting on 19 of their 27 made baskets, showing a knack for spreading the ball around.

With its first official game under its belt, Wojciechowski’s squad’s first real measuring stick awaits this Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. With some momentum to boot, Marquette will look to avenge a home loss last season to the Buckeyes and hope to make what would be a very large, early statement.

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