MILWAUKEE – Marquette jumped out to a 10-0 run to start the second half, propelling them to a 100-80 win over cross-town rival UWM Friday night at the BC.
"I think that's the focus coming in after every break, whether it be out of a timeout or to begin the game," said senior guard Jerel McNeal of the decisive run. "You want to come out and put pressure on the other team. You look to get a couple stops in a row, and you look to get a couple baskets in a row. It just so happens that it's been happening for us at the start of the second half."
Three Golden Eagles scored over 20 points, with Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews leading the way with 25 apiece. McNeal added 22 points and Dominic James chipped in 16 points and 8 assists.
Marquette was very effective off the drive, drawing 26 fouls and doubling up UWM in the paint, 52 points to 26. The Golden Eagles also outrebounded UWM 45-34 en route to their second-straight triple-digit output.
It was only the second time in Marquette's 92-year history that they have scored 100 or more points in consecutive games.
After shooting 42.9 percent in the first half, Marquette shot a blazing 54.1 percent in the second half. It was the opposite for the Panthers, who shot 26.5 percent in the second half after shooting an even 50 percent in the first half.
"I think when we shoot like that it's because we're all taking great shots," said Hayward. "I think when we take better shots we rarely miss."
To start the game, Marquette burst out to a 9-2 lead. UWM then fought back to tie it with an inside bucket by Anthony Hill at the 14:04 mark. The Panthers later took a 29-26 lead on an Avery Smith three-point basket with 9:21 to play in the first half, and for the next 8:35 neither team was able to extend the score beyond a three-point margin.
Marquette then finished the first half on an 8-2 run to give themselves a 45-40 lead at halftime and set up their decisive surge after intermission.
"I think for the first 17 minutes of the second half and probably the last seven minutes of the first half and the first three or four minutes of the game – those segments combined were about as good as we've played together as a team," head coach Buzz Williams said.
It was also a historic night for Marquette on several fronts. They extended their series lead over UWM to 36-0, the second-longest active win streak over a single opponent in Division I basketball. Marquette also became the 50th program in NCAA history with 1400 victories.
On the positive side for the Panthers, Tone Boyle and Avery Smith led the team with 23 and 22 points, respectively. UWM's bench also outscored Marquette's bench, 38-9.
The Golden Eagles return to action against Texas Southern on Tuesday night at the Bradley Center.