One of the keys for tonight's victory was the noticeably improved shooting percentage on the part of the Golden Eagles. After shooting a dismal 35.8 percent from the floor against NDSU, Marquette hit 50 percent of their field goals against the Hornets on Tuesday.
The three point shooting improved as well, to 60 percent including a 5-for-6 performance in the second half.
Marquette had four scorers in double digits. Sophomore Jerel McNeal led the team with 16 points for the second game in a row. Sophomores Wesley Matthews scored 15 and both Dominic James and junior Dan Fitzgerald put up 13 points.
The Golden Eagles were visibly more willing to share the ball and looked for the best shot in each possession. They recorded 16 assists as a team while only committing 13 turnovers. A few Marquette players reiterated how practice prepared the team for tonight's game.
"That is just how we practice day in and day out. That's how coach teaches us to play: unselfishly," said McNeal.
"We are always trying to get the ball to the most open shooter," added Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald started for the first time this season, and recorded season highs with his 13 points and 26 minutes, and matched his season best with seven rebounds.
"Dan brings a lot of energy and he gives the other team some tough match-ups. He stretches the defense and allows us to do a lot more things offensively," said McNeal.
"We get a lot of things from Dan. He can really pass the ball and obviously he can hit threes," said coach Tom Crean. "He is very versatile and a veteran; he knows what he is doing."
David Cubillan was the only Marquette player to score off the bench. He shot 1-for-1 from three point range for his only points, but tallied four assists and two steals as well.
Ousmane Barro scored five points but did not record a rebound; the first time this season he has been shut out in that category.
Marquette also scored 28 points in the paint and 23 off of turnovers.
"Like I've said time an time again, defense is what we want to hang out hats on," said Matthews. "You're your defense is giving you bucket, that is your best offense."
Delaware State had three players score in double figures. Roy Bright led the Hornets with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jahsha Blunt and Darrin Shine added 13 points each. Shine also dished out a game high six assists.
The Hornets were able to cut the Marquette lead to eight before the first media timeout, but Marquette went on a 9-0 run over the next six minutes.
"We were able to space the court. We were able to move the ball around. We were driving and kicking and making shots," said Matthews.
"We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people. There is always room to improve. I thought our guys did a good job winning the hustle game," said Crean. "It was a good, solid victory."
Marquette knew that they needed to come out strong and show that they are still a high quality team.
"You're always motivated after a loss. You always want to bounce back. That is what great teams do," said Matthews. "They regroup and focus."
Marquette hosts in-state rival and No. 12 ranked Wisconsin on Saturday at 1pm.
**Eric Titze is a senior majoring in Political Science.