Quick Start Lifts Marquette Over Texas Tech, 87-72
With a furious start to the first half, the Golden Eagles caught the Red Raiders off guard and gave them their first loss of the season. Marquette caused four turnovers to start the game and put themselves on top by 10 after the first four and a half minutes.
After the opening minutes, the Golden Eagles maintained their lead and never allowed Texas Tech any closer than nine the rest of the game.
Marquette set a run-and-gun pace that the Red Raiders never matched. When it was all said and done, 22 of Marquette's points came off the break compared to Texas Tech's seven.
Every Golden Eagle recorded at least one rebound and that toughness on the boards meant a plus 11 rebounding margin and contributed to a 46-20 edge on points scored in the paint.
The most obvious factor in last night's win proved to be the balanced attack from the Marquette starters. Sophomores Dominic James, Wes Matthews and Jerel McNeal combined for 55 of Marquette's 87 point and 14 of their 18 assists.
Ousmane Barro added seven points and matched McNeal with seven rebounds.
Although they recorded one more turnover than the Red Raiders, Marquette took advantage of the mistakes, scoring 16 more points off of turnovers than Texas Tech.
"That's the kind of game we play," Matthews said. "We practice it. We drill it. That's when we're at our best, getting a rebound or a turnover and running."
On the defensive end, Marquette shut down the Texas Tech starters and made the Red Raiders rely on 35 points off the bench, including a team leading 17 from sophomore Benny Valentine.
Texas Tech senior Jarrius Jackson scored only 14 points, eight fewer than his season average. It was the first time this season he has been held under 20.
"I think we caught them off guard in the beginning," Matthews said.
"We're a hard team to stop when we're getting the ball down court and in transition," said James.
Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight agreed, but stressed that his team is just not on the same level as Marquette.
"I think our main problem tonight was that we ran into a better team than us," Knight said. "They showed it from the beginning."
Marquette will meet Duke in the CBE Classic Championship game at 10pm ET on ESPN2.
Texas Tech will take on Air Force in the consolation game at 8pm.
*Much was made of Marquette's fast start and ability to run the floor early in the game. Here are a few quotes about Marquette's quick attack.
"All of the penetration we do is to help set somebody else up. We need to make that the focal part of our offense, to make that extra pass." –Jerel McNeal
"We have attack minded players and you have to accept the turnovers that may come with that. Our guys always keep moving, they always try to make up for their mistakes." –Tom Crean
"We like to run, that is when we are at our best." –Dominic James
*Bobby Knight commented on Wes Matthews, son for former Wisconsin standout Wes Matthews who competed against Knight when he was at Indiana.
"His father was a really good guard, a much different player than this kid," said Knight. "He was a guard who handled the ball well and did a really good job with the ball. This kid is a really good young player. This kid can do a little bit of everything. Matthews is the kind of player who can guard guys who are 6-8. Marquette can do a lot of things with his versatility."
*Marquette moves on to play one of its biggest non-conference games in recent history. Duke will be the first of two top ten teams that Marquette will play in the next two weeks, with Wisconsin coming to the Bradley Center on December 9th.
"We know that they have a lot of talent, and so do we," said Dominic James of Duke. "When we step between those lines, we have to be ready to play. We have to look out for the shooters in Scheyer and Paulus and their ability to create. I know that my guys are going to be ready, we know that our job is not done."