Senior Matt Stainbrook, sophomore Myles Davis and freshmen Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura all scored in double-digits for Xavier, combining for 48 points.
Redshirt freshman Duane Wilson (12 points, two steals) and senior Juan Anderson (11 points, nine rebounds) led the way for the Golden Eagles. Sophomore JaJuan Johnson had a decent all-around night racking up nine points and seven rebounds despite going 4-of-14 from the field.
The Golden Eagles appeared to miss graduate senior Matt Carlino’s 3-point touch as they had a tough time from downtown knocking in just three of fifteen attempted treys.
[#10 Juan Anderson scored 11 pts and led MU with 9 rebs]
“We had a very thin margin for error with Matt,” coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “So we do miss him, especially on nights like this where they pack the paint. We weren’t able to counter that.”
Marquette was again outrebounded 40-29 and outscored in second-chance points, fast-break points and bench points. It also surrendered 14 points off of 15 turnovers.
From the get-go, Marquette took the ball right to the paint and right at Stainbrook. The 6-foot-10 forward had his troubles defending the frontcourt in the early going, while sophomore Luke Fischer pushed the ball well and played physical defense against him.
Fischer scored over Stainbrook on a tough take down low right off the tip-off, then senior Juan Anderson put back his own miss in transition to give Marquette a 4-0 lead.
Fischer and Anderson combined for 15 points in the first half, and helped Marquette go up 16-5 seven and a half minutes into the game. The duo would score three more points the rest of the way.
From there Xavier went on a 23-9 run and built a 28-25 halftime lead. The Musketeers’ interior defense stiffened thanks to freshman center Sean O’Mara and sophomore Jalen Reynolds, forcing Marquette to take more outside shots. After attempting just one 3-pointer over the first 12 minutes of the game, the Golden Eagles ended the half 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Anderson took and buried the final shot of the half, a wide-open 3-pointer at the top of the key, to beat the clock and narrow Marquette’s deficit to one possession.
Bluiett and Davis quickly scored four unanswered points out of the break to keep momentum in Xavier’s favor.
[Luke Fischer was surrounded in the second half by the Xavier zone]
After an over-the-back call on Fischer that didn’t sit well with Wojciechowski, the coach’s vocal response was met with a technical foul that gave two free throws to Xavier, and eventually two more points on a field goal by Davis.
As a result, it took Xavier less than two minutes to increase its lead to double-digits and give the Musketeers a bit of an early second-half cushion.
Meanwhile the Golden Eagles turned the ball over six times and missed 10 of their first 14 field goal attempts over the first 12 minutes of the second half. While Marquette was able to get into the bonus before the 10-minute mark, it struggled at the charity stripe when it could get to it, making five of 12 free throws for the game.
A back-to-back 3-pointer and transition layup by J.P. Macura gave Xavier a lead of 16 points with just under 12 minutes to play. The Musketeers maintained that lead without much threat from the Golden Eagles and cruised to the victory.
Marquette couldn’t overcome Xavier’s 1-3-1 defense and, in turn, rediscover its offensive rhythm as it fell at home for the sixth time this season.
The Golden Eagles now sit at 11-13 and 3-9 in conference play with six games remaining until the Big East tournament.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but we have seven guys. That’s what we have. My job’s not to think about reasons why we can’t win, it’s to come up with reasons we should.”
[Team Chaplain, Fr. William J Kelly, SJ, celebrated his 92nd birthday today from the MU bench.]