Marquette won the 1,399th game in the history of its program Monday night at the Bradley Center. But forgive the team if they're not happy about it.
The Golden Eagles downed Chicago State 106-87, recording their highest single-game score since 1980 and topping 90 points for the second straight night. The program last stacked 90-point efforts during the 1994-95 campaign.
But suspect defense was the story of the night. Marquette last allowed 87 points to a non-BCS conference team in 2004, when they defeated Oakland University 95-87.
"I'm not trying to be a prophet or foresee the future," head coach Buzz Williams said, "but we can't allow teams to score 51 points [in the second half] in our building. To be honest, you can't allow teams to score 51 points whether you're playing at a park or no matter what gym. It's just not consistent with good basketball. Period."
Foul trouble was also an issue for Marquette. Their starting lineup finished the night with 17 combined fouls, forcing Williams to walk out many different lineups. In total, 56 fouls were called during the game.
"We spend an inordinate amount of time talking about defending without fouling," Williams said. "We work on it every single day, but we have to get better at it. And we have to get a lot better at it really quick."
Overall, it was a performance that Marquette would rather not have characterize their style of play.
"Buzz reminds us every day that we're not an offensive-oriented team," junior Lazar Hayward said. "We can score baskets. That'll never be a problem. We want our defense to create our offense."
Chicago State standout David Holston also deserves much of the credit for his team's high offensive output. Holston was unconscious, scoring 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting. He also hit seven three-pointers, tying a Bradley Center record. In an 87-point effort, the only other Cougar to score in double-figures was John Cantrell, with 21 points.
On the Golden Eagles' side, Wes Matthews led the offensive charge with another banner night. The senior from Madison recorded 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals, while shooting 10-10 from the line.
"[Buzz's] offense is predicated on guys who can do a lot of different things," said Hayward. "So I think that's why [Wes] stands out this year."
Other high scorers included Hayward with 21 points and Jerel McNeal with 17. The Golden Eagles also helped their cause by shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward Pat Hazel continued to make positive strides for Marquette as well. Hazel finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, but Williams would still like to see more improvement from the Queens, N.Y. native.
"Everyday he's getting a little more bounce back," said Williams. "But I've stopped practice more times for Pat Hazel than the rest of those eight guys combined. He's gotta be better."
Also add Dominic James to the list of Golden Eagle concerns. The senior shot just 2-of-9 from the free-throw line and could be seen practicing his charity shot from the Bradley Center court after the game.
The Golden Eagles take the court again Saturday, as the UWM Panther make the trek across State Street for the 36th meeting between the two schools. If the Golden Eagles can avoid their first-ever loss in the series, they will become the 50th program in NCAA history to reach the 1400-win mark.
Marco Radenkovich is a junior majoring in supply chain management.