MU 83 Ala A+M 49 / Fischer 22pts in 22 min

Sophomore Luke Fischer dazzled again in his second appearance for MU leading all scorers with 22 points in the Golden Eagles’ 83-49 victory over Alabama A&M at the Al McGuire Center. Friday night’s win marked the first time the McGuire Center hosted an official men’s regular season game, and while the on-campus arena didn’t sell out, the crowd was a factor according to Sr captain Juan Anderson.

“I’m not really sure how to describe it, yet,” Anderson said. “It just felt really different warming up, obviously the crowd seemed bigger. The Al McGuire Center is a lot more compact, you could feel the fans right on top of you. I liked it, nonetheless, but it was a lot different.”

Coach Steve Wojciechowski considered the opportunity to play at the McGuire Center an “honor” and was pleased with his team’s dominating performance.

“The Marquette men’s basketball program has such an amazing history and tradition, and obviously Coach McGuire is at the heart of that, and to be able to be the first team to play an official game in the Al McGuire Center was an honor for me and for our team,” Wojciechowski said. “We all are better for being part of a program like this, and to play a good game here for the first time, it means a lot.”

Anderson was one of three Marquette players to score in double digits with 13 points, four assists and seven rebounds. Junior Steve Taylor Jr., bounced back nicely from his scoreless, eight-minute showing in Tuesday night’s 78-71 win over Arizona State adding 16 points and six rebounds.

Graduate senior Matt Carlino led the team with eight assists to go with eight points, while sophomore JaJuan Johnson and freshman Duane Wilson combined for 17 points.

Wojciechowski’s squad had a big night from the field, connecting on 30 of 49 field goal attempts (61.2 percent) and assisting on 23 of those baskets. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Golden Eagles shot an astonishing 88.9 percent from the field.

In a game that Marquette never trailed, it chalked up 42 points in the paint and won the battle of the boards 32-22. Its transition game was flowing again as it scored 24 points off turnovers and 15 on the fast break.

Anderson gave Fischer a lot of credit for the recent uptick in the team’s offensive rhythm.

“With Luke being on the team and playing it makes all the difference,” Anderson said. “Steve and I can get a little rest, and he changes the game and alters shots. We can get out in transition a lot better, a lot faster with him on the floor.”

Wojciechowski was particularly impressed with his team’s ability to follow up the Arizona State win with a strong performance.

“Sometimes when you do something well there’s a tendency to let up, and I didn’t think, for the most part, we did that,” Wojciechowski said. “We handled our business very well tonight, and we think our team is doing some really good things on the floor. Our defense continues to improve. We are sharing the basketball at a really high rate.”

With a bench only three players deep, Taylor Jr., saw a lot more shared time on the court with Fischer. The duo appeared to complement each other nicely, and Wojciechowski took notice.

“Juan at times this year has been really hard to take off the court,” Wojciechowski said. “Juan has had a heck of a year, and as Steve and Luke get used to playing with each other more, you’ll see that combination more, as well.”

The Golden Eagles have two more home non-conference games on the schedule before the Big East season tips off at DePaul on New Year’s Eve. Matchups with North Dakota and Morgan State present opportunities to improve their record and build momentum before beginning their conference campaign.

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