MILWAUKEE-Lazar Hayward scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Marquette to a 69-50 win over IPFW Saturday at the Bradley Center.
"He is similar to Dennis Rodman in that he follows the flight of the ball as soon as they shoot it," head coach Buzz Williams said of Hayward's rebounding prowess. "He is very important to our club."
And coming off of finals week at school, Hayward was relieved to be back on the court for the Golden Eagles.
"I think we were all really excited to play," said Hayward. "When we have finals we really lock in with our studies and afterwards we are really happy that we finally get to play for a while and kind of forget about school."
In addition to Hayward, three other Marquette starters hit double figures. Jerel McNeal scored 16 points, Wesley Matthews added 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Dominic James chipped in 10 points and 5 assists.
"Overall I thought we did some good things," said Williams. " I think that our half court offense was probably, from a fluidity standpoint, as good as it has been. We had 17 assists, which typically signifies that you're trying to play the game the right way."
Although Marquette turned the ball over more than IPFW, they held the Mastodons to 50 points by only allowing them to shoot 30 percent for the game. Marquette also out-rebounded IPFW 48-29.
"I thought in stretches we were good defensively," said Williams. "The numbers definitely bare out [that] it's our best fields goal percentage defensive of the year."
In a game where the outcome was never in question, Marquette began shooting 9-of-14 from the floor. The Mastodons managed to pull to within four points at one point, 25-21, but they would never get closer.
Marquette expanded their lead in the second half by starting out on a 20-8 run. McNeal scored 8 of Marquette's first 12 points to begin the half.
"He (McNeal) is just a great contributor to our team," said Hayward. "A lot of us look for him to get us going and I think he looks to us sometimes to get him going also. I think we are doing a better job helping him help us."
David Carson led IPFW with 17 points. Ben Botts, the only other Mastodon in double figures, added 11.
The Golden Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday when they head to Nashville to play Tennessee in the Big East/SEC invitational. The game is set to tip off at 8:30 CT on ESPN.
Game Notes- Hayward's 18 rebounds were a career high and one shy of the collegiate Bradley Center record... Matthews was one rebound short of his first career double-double. Also his three first-half blocks were a career high...Marquette is now 7-0 at the Bradley Center this season and have won their last 20 non conference home games.