Diener Leads Marquette Over Green Wave, 82-68

Tulane (6-7, 0-2 C-USA) held a 42-39 edge after a Quincy Davis putback with 17:58 to go, but Diener led Marquette (13-1, 1-0) on an 18-2 spurt to put the Golden Eagles on top, 57-44. Diener ignited the run with a three-pointer and then added four assists in the run

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Marquette senior star Travis Diener took control in the second half on Saturday evening, leading the Golden Eagles to an 82-68 victory over Tulane University in Conference USA men's basketball action.

Tulane (6-7, 0-2 C-USA) held a 42-39 edge after a Quincy Davis putback with 17:58 to go, but Diener led Marquette (13-1, 1-0) on an 18-2 spurt to put the Golden Eagles on top, 57-44. Diener ignited the run with a three-pointer and then added four assists in the run.

"In the second half, give Diener credit, he hit big threes, he changed the momentum; he is a senior and he made a big difference," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "We didn't come out with the same grittiness in the second half; they made the run and we became tentative. We wore down a little bit.

"We missed some easy baskets and they made layups off those misses. It was a huge momentum swing for them. We've got to make those plays."

After Marquette had scored eight unanswered points to open the run, Tulane had a fast-break opportunity but could not convert and the Golden Eagles took the rebound the other way for a Dameon Mason slam dunk and a 49-42 advantage.

The Green Wave was led by a career-high 20 points from senior Marcus Kinzer, who made a brilliant recovery from Wednesday's game at Saint Louis when he scored just two points. He also added six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

"Marcus got back in the gym; he was very frustrated after the Saint Louis game," Finney said. "He wanted to prove he was a better player and he came out with a good offensive game tonight."

Freshman Taylor Rochestie tallied 17 points, while Davis finished with 12 points and a pair of blocks.

Diener finished his evening with 20 points and 12 assists, while Dameon Mason scored 17 points with eight rebounds. Ryan Amoroso added a career-best 18 points while Steve Novak scored 13 for Marquette.

"Diener is a great player; that's why the NBA guys are looking at him," Finney said. "He's very heady, he makes people around him better."

Tulane played an excellent first half, heading into the locker room with a 38-31 advantage after Rochestie drilled a halfcourt runner at the buzzer. The Wave shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field in the half while holding the Golden Eagles to 34.3 percent (12-of-35).

"We came out sharp and shot the ball and were aggressive on defense," Finney said. "It was our best half of basketball that we have played this year."

However, the second half was a different story as Marquette drilled 65.5 percent (19-of-29) of its shots and Tulane could only convert 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from the field.

After the big Marquette run, Tulane did not go away. Trailing 61-48, Kinzer found Davis for a foul line jumper, then Kinzer scored an old-fashioned three-point play and it was 61-53 with 8:35 remaining. However, the Golden Eagles responded with a 14-2 run to put the game away.

For the game, Tulane had a season-low 11 turnovers, but Marquette logged just eight miscues. The Golden Eagles also held a commanding 42-31 advantage on the boards. Tulane has lost all five of its game this year when being outrebounded.

Next up for the Green Wave is a trip to Fort Worth to challenge TCU on Wednesday, Jan. 12 in a game that will be televised live nationally on ESPN Classic. Tulane returns to New Orleans next Saturday, hosting DePaul at the New Orleans Arena.


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