MILWAUKEE- The Marquette Golden Eagles (3-0) used a great defensive effort and balanced attack on offense to defeat the Grambling State Tigers (1-2), 87-41 Saturday night.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles forced 22 turnovers that led to 28 points and held the Tigers to 29.1 percent shooting from the field (14-of-48). They also won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Tigers 43-28 and limiting them to just four offensive rebounds and six second chance points.
"I thought, by far it was the best game we've played. I think that it was the best 37 minutes in November that we have played since I have been here," MU coach Buzz Williams said.
It was the best defensive effort of the year for the Golden Eagles, who had struggled in the first two games to contest outside shots and battle in the paint. The marked improvement was evident as Grambling State shot just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Leading the cause was Dwight Buycks, who had this best all-around game of the season, scoring 10 points, hauling in 10 rebounds, and handing out a team-high seven assists.
"I think there is a direct correlation [between Dwight's] production tonight and how hard he competed every single possession," Williams said.
Jimmy Butler contributed 15 points and Lazar Hayward finished with 12 in 20 foul-plagued minutes. He picked up his fourth foul at the 14:00 mark of the second half and watched the rest of the game from the bench.
Marquette scored a season-high 37 points from their reserves, led by Darius Johnson-Odom's 13 points. He connected on three shots from downtown, while point guard Maurice Acker added 9 points.
Erik Williams, who failed to make an appearance against Maryland-Eastern Shore, played 12 minutes. He notched six points and 3 rebounds, including a thunderous dunk off a pass from Hayward in the first half.
The Golden Eagles started off slow, but a 19-0 run in the first half helped them jump out to an early 23-6 lead and never looked back. In the second half it was a 16-0 run that propelled MU to a 71-25 lead.
Marquette shot 58.6 percent from the field in the second half (17-of-29) and led by as many as 48 late. Head coach Buzz Williams continued to use different combinations throughout the majority of the game as nine different players saw double-digit minutes.
Senior guard Ariece Perkins finished with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Grambling State (1-2), but also committed seven turnovers. Torez Young finished the game with 10 as the Tigers received just three points from their bench.
Marquette's next contest will be Tuesday at the Bradley Center when the Golden Eagles take on the South Dakota Coyotes in continued preparation for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando coming up in less than a week.
-Youssoupha Mbao, suspended by the NCAA for the first two games due to amateurism issues, saw his first minutes of the year and finished with one point, an assist, and a block in six minutes.
-For as good as Marquette played the first 39+ minutes, the highlight of the night came when junior walk-on Rob Frozena took a pass from Acker and put in a lay-up while being fouled. Frozena then sunk his free throw as the crowd continued to go wild.
-The 41 points allowed by MU was the lowest since MU defeated Florida Gulf Coast 67-37 in March 4, 2008.
Golden Eagles get defensive
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