The crowd was loud, the game was tight, and the players were emotional – perfect elements for a big-time rivalry game.
It all culminated in a 61-58 victory for the Golden Eagles thanks to a dominant performance from senior Jerel McNeal.
MU captured the lead with 5:24 remaining in the second half on a McNeal three-point basket. The lead was Marquette's first since the opening possession.
The Badgers' loss snaps their 7-game road win streak.
The Badgers came out of the gate hot, shooting 50 percent from the field early, but were eventually slowed by a swarming Golden Eagle defense. UW started shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range but shot 4-of-19 the rest of the way.
"Everything we do is predicated from what we do on the defensive end," McNeal said. "Getting turnovers and rebounds give our team a chance to run, and that's really what it's about."
McNeal took over in the second half, scoring 19 of his game-high 26 points. He shot 10-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, while grabbing 7 rebounds. McNeal also scored 14 consecutive points for the Golden Eagles during a stretch in the second half.
"In so many different ways, he's good enough to do that," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said of McNeal. "He can create things and make a lot of things happen with the ball – at least we were trying to [make him] do it in different ways."
Senior guard Dominic James was the only other Golden Eagle in double figures, scoring all 10 of his points in the first half.
Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry, who averaged 13.3 points per game entering the game, was held to only 5 points on 2-of-5 shooting.
"I thought Dwight [Burke] was arguably our most valuable player because he guarded their best player," MU head coach Buzz Williams said. "[Landry is] a really talented player and Dwight really stepped up and did a good job with him tonight."
Burke, who had a strong defensive showing, scored one point and grabbed 4 rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
Wisconsin has won seven of the team's last 11 meetings, but Marquette has now won two straight. Wisconsin leads the all-time series between the two schools 62-53.
The Golden Eagles return to action next Saturday at 1:00 PM CST to take on IPFW at the Bradley Center.
Despite head coach Buzz Williams saying that Dwight Burke was the games most valuable player, he only notched one point and 3 fouls, extending his more-fouls-than-points streak…..Junior forward Lazar Hayward grabbed a career high 13 rebounds to go along with his 9 points……Freshman center Chris Otule and sophomore forward Joe Fulce warmed up with the team for the first time since their injuries.
Patrick Kurish is a junior majoring in journalism. Marco Radenkovich is a junior majoring in supply chain management.