MU blows Blue Hose out of water

The Marquette Golden Eagles finish conference play with a 102-62 win over Presbyterian.

MILWAUKEE- Six different Golden Eagles scored in double figures as Marquette (9-3) defeated Presbyterian (2-11), 102-62, at the Bradley Center on Sunday afternoon.

"I thought our energy was great and I thought they were extremely unselfish," said MU Head Coach Buzz Williams. "I think we did really good things more consecutively than we have at any time in the past month."

After a five-day break for the holidays, MU showed little rust from their Winter Break as they dominated nearly every statistical category on Sunday afternoon. For the game, MU shot a blistering 61 percent from the field, including 59 percent from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded the Blue Hose, 34-20 and outscored them in the paint, 42-16.

"I think it was good to see the family [because] you normally don't get to see them much throughout the year except in the summer," said MU junior forward Jimmy Butler. "Everyone was texting each other everyday, it was like we were all right next to each other and I think that's why we responded the way we did – because we're all so close."

Lazar Hayward's 23 points led the way for MU. Butler added 16 points and led the team with eight rebounds and five assists. Darius Johnson-Odom and Dwight Buycks each finished six-of-nine from the field and scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.

A Jimmy Butler layup with one-half-of-a-second remaining capped a 21-to-7 run for Marquette, to close the first half. The Golden Eagles shot a scorching 70 percent from the field including 58 percent from downtown, prior to intermission. Four Golden Eagles scored seven or more points in the opening period.

In the second half, senior guards Maurice Acker and David Cubillan each doubled their point total and finished with 14 and 10 points respectively. Dwight Buycks also heated up late, scoring eight straight points for the Golden Eagles between the 6:04 and the 5-minute marks in the second half.

Marquette mixed things up defensively by implementing a 1-2-2 zone when freshman Youssoupha Mbao was in the game, placing him at the top of the zone. In the second half, MU continued to change things by applying a triangle-and-2 zone on several possessions.

"We went through a lot of different things to throw off the rhythm and try and change the pace, said Williams. "Thus far through our games our [defensive] field goal percentage is 41 percent and I think to win the Big East it needs to be 37 – basically where it has been for the teams over the last decade who have won the Big East. We need to find a way to get there, and that probably means about four to five more stops a game. We have to find ways to change the rhythm of the game."

Freshman guard Zach Faircloth led the Blue Hose with 15 points on 6-10 shooting. Presbyterian shot 48 percent for the game but their 15 turnovers led to 30 points for MU.

Next up for the Golden Eagles is a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia to face the Mountaineers in the Big East opener on Tuesday night. West Virginia opened Big East play Saturday with an overtime win at Seton Hall.

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