MU 62 NJIT 57

On the first of many cold winter nights at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Marquette Golden Eagles pulled out a five-point victory over the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders by a score of 62-57. “Winning in college basketball is not easy, especially for a younger and inexperienced group,” said head coach Steve Wojciechowski. “We have to fight and work so hard to grind out wins.

That’s who we are right now.”

[Duane Wilson scored 18 pts]

The team got out to yet another slow start, as NJIT had a 5-3 lead at the first media timeout. It did not get any better for the Golden Eagles as the half went on. In fact, with three minutes to go, NJIT had their largest lead of the game at six points.

After getting one back at the foul line, Jajuan Johnson hit a three from the corner as time expired to pull Marquette to within two at the half.

Once again, the Golden Eagles were beat on the glass in the first half as the Highlanders held a 17-14 advantage on the boards. NJIT finished the game with 37 rebounds to Marquette’s 36. However, it is important to note that Juan Anderson and Steve Taylor Jr. combined for 21 boards, grabbing 9 and 12 respectively.

Marquette trailed NJIT 30-28 at the half.

“Mainly we wanted to focus on defense, that’s all our coaches talked about at halftime,” said redshirt freshman Duane Wilson. “Let’s keep playing defense. Lets get that percentage down. And that’s exactly what we did.”

The Golden Eagles came out with more energy to start the half despite only going on a five to four run in the opening minutes. Every time Marquette would score, the Highlanders would answer right back keeping the game close for much of the second half.

With about nine minutes to play Johnson hit another crucial three to give Marquette a 44 to 42 advantage. Four minutes later, Juan Anderson would score a bucket to push the MU lead to four.

NJIT would not go away easily, as they matched the Golden Eagles possession for possession. With a little less than three minutes to go, Marquette held a 56-55 advantage. With the shot clock ticking down, Duane Wilson drove the lane, threw up a circus shot against contact, and drew the foul. The three-point play would give Marquette a 59-55 lead.

[Wilson was 9 for 10 at the FT line]

At the 1:30 mark, Derrick Wilson had the opportunity to put NJIT away for good, but missed two from the line. On the next few possessions, the Highlanders would get it back to a one-possession game. With 22 seconds remaining, it was a 59-57 in favor of Marquette.

After locking down on a defensive possession, NJIT continued to foul and sent Duane Wilson to the line. He would convert the pair of free throws to give the Golden Eagles a 61-57 lead with a little less than 20 ticks remaining.

The ensuing possession, NJIT’s Damon Lynn would drive the lane only to draw contact with Juan Anderson. Anderson would draw the charge and the Golden Eagles would hang on for the 62-57 victory.

“We don’t have anyone on our team who has ever been a huge contributor to winning at the college level,” said Wojciechowski. “I was proud of guys tonight because they made huge winning plays, and for many of them that’s the first time they’ve ever done it.”

The Golden Eagles appear to have found a consistent scorer in senior Juan Anderson, who had another 20-point game on Monday night against NJIT. Anderson finished his night with 20 points, nine rebounds, and two steals.

“I though Juan Anderson was sensational tonight,” said Wojciechowski. “ I mean Juan Anderson went 20 and 9. He’s never had to do that before.”

Monday night belonged to Duane Wilson, who according to his coach is coming off his best week of practice. The redshirt freshman took over the game late to lead the Golden Eagles to victory. Wilson finished with 18 points and two assists, while going nine of ten from the charity stripe.

“I’ve been a freshman before and I’ve been at the line in tight games. It’s not easy to walk up there and make free throws even if you’re a good player like Duane,” Wojociechowski said. “I hope he has confidence but I hope he also learns the lesson you play like you practice.”

[Matt Carlino struggled from the field but had 3 assists]

Marquette moves to 2-2 on the season. Next up for the Golden Eagles is a date with the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 central at the HP Field House at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

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