Hayward, Marquette soar past Northern State

MILWAUKEE – Lazar Hayward scored 17 points and Wesley Matthews added 16 to lead the Golden Eagles to a 83-55 win over Northern State in the exhibition opener Sunday night at the Bradley Center.

MILWAUKEE – Lazar Hayward scored 17 points and Wesley Matthews added 16 to lead the Golden Eagles to a 83-55 win over Northern State in the exhibition opener Sunday night at the Bradley Center.

Hayward came off the bench as the main force down low for Marquette, as he produced his game-high tally in only 15 minutes of action. Hayward was five of seven from the free throw line and also contributed three assists and two steals.

"Comfort level is a big key for me," Hayward said. "These guys do a great job just telling me to go out and play my game, and not think too much. "Matthews also shot a high percentage from the floor and the line, as he went five of seven on field goals and six of seven on free throws. He also brought the crowd to its feet at the 14:40 mark of the first half with a powerful dunk off a fast break.

The Golden Eagles started the night slow as they were forced to adjust to the different defenses employed by Northern State. The Wolves sent Marquette to the foul line 29 times in the first half, but the Golden Eagles could not capitalize, sinking only 16 of them.

A three-pointer by Maurice Acker gave Marquette a 17-14 lead with 8:33 to play in the first half and they never looked back from there. Matthews scored eight points in the final six minutes of the first half to give Marquette a 40-30 edge at intermission. Acker also added seven first half points.

Hayward led the way in the second half as the Golden Eagles continued to increase their lead. Marquette reached its largest lead, 32 points, off a tip-slam by Lawrence Blackledge at the 2:21 mark. The Golden Eagles also shot much better from the foul line, sinking 14 of 15 in the second half.

"I think tonight most importantly there were times, especially in the second half, that we played like a veteran team," said Head Coach Tom Crean. "That's how we have to play."

Junior Dominic James added 12 points for Marquette in 20 minutes, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk from Acker at the 9:29 mark in the second half. Dwight Burke, who started at center for the Golden Eagles and saw 18 minutes of action, contributed a team high five steals.

The Wolves were lead in scoring by All-American Kevin Ratzsch with 12 points. The Golden Eagles held Northern State senior Craig Nelson, a 14 points-per-game scorer a year ago, scoreless until the 9:34 mark of the second half. Nelson finished the game with three points.

"To have a scrimmage against a really good opponent and to play an exhibition game against a really good opponent – it can't be any better than that to start your season," said Crean, also alluding to last week's scrimmage against Kansas State. "We saw two different styles and we saw two well-coached teams."The Golden Eagles start the regular season against IUPUI Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bradley Center.


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