Hayward's 23 pts/MU beats USF 62-54

Despite a shaky start to both halves, Marquette pulled it together to defeat USF 62-54 on Tuesday night at the Bradley Center. Regardless of the frigid temperatures and blizzard warnings , Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews were on fire from the field. Matthews went on a tear late in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers in a minute and a half stretch to push the lead to nine.

Despite a shaky start to both halves, Marquette pulled it together to defeat USF 62-54 on Tuesday night at the Bradley Center. Regardless of the frigid temperatures and blizzard warnings , Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews were on fire from the field. Matthews went on a tear late in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers in a minute and a half stretch to push the lead to nine.

Matthews was 4-4 from three-point range and ended up with 16 points, tying a season high.

"He played extremely well tonight, and his practice performance carried into the game." Head Coach Tom Crean said.

Hayward played exceptionally on both ends of the court, pulling down 8 rebounds and notching a career high 23 points. He was very consistent at the line, hitting 8-9.

Hayward scored many key buckets along the way, tying the game with 4:31 to go in the first half. The next possession down court, Hayward converted a three point play, to push the Eagles to their first lead of the game at 23-20. In the second half, Hayward hit a vital three to push Marquette ahead once again. His three point play with two minutes to go in the game sealed the victory.

"We really wanted to get him the ball in the lane," Crean said. "When he's in foul trouble, were not as good of a team. He elevated his game on both ends tonight."

The tempo was controlled by the Bulls for most of the game. Part of this was due to the rebounding advantage for USF. They out-rebounded Marquette 39-32, and held Marquette to only five fast break points.

"They turned it into a grind out game, and our guys were able to handle that," Crean said.

The Golden Eagles had a hard time shutting down the Bulls' massive center Kentrell Gransberry. Gransberry recorded a double-double picking up 15 points as well as 15 rebounds. Gransberry's 12 defensive rebounds were key to helping USF pick up 16 second chance points. The game was very physical, as both teams vied for position down low and on rebounds. The physicality led to 50 total fouls, and frequent trips to the line for both squads.

The Golden Eagles struggled from the foul line, shooting only 58%. This is down from their 72% average going into the game. Without Hayward, Marquette shot a meager 46%. James, a 69% shooter on the season, shot 1-6 from the line.

James was cold for most of the game, logging his only field goal two and a half minutes into the game. James, who was ill before the game, hit the court sporadically, only playing 19 minutes.

The role players were able to pick up the slack left by their struggling point guard. "I'm focused on what it takes for us to win and playing with momentum," Crean said giving credit to the energy and defense of David Cubillan and Maurice Acker. "When you have a deep bench, you can do something about (off nights)."

The Eagles take to the court next on February 2nd at Cincinnati.


Marquette Hoops Top Stories