Grambling State showed up the BMO Harris Bradley Center Tuesday night, but that’s about all the 0-2 Tigers did right. Marquette cruised to a 114-71 victory to go to 2-0 behind eight different players scoring in double-figures.
Chris Otule led Marquette with 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting and Steve Taylor recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Golden Eagles had more points in the paint (76) than the Tigers did points.
A pair of freshmen also broke into double figures for Marquette. Deonte Burton played aggressively all night and took the most shots of any MU player by far with 15. While he only made six field goals, he finished with 14 points and gained valuable confidence in his scoring ability. He also rose high above the rim to put down a second half alley-oop from Derrick Wilson. JaJuan Johnson shook off a shaky start to score 12 points in the final ten minutes of the game.
Marquette jumped on the Tigers early, securing its first double-digit lead just six minutes into the game. Uncharacteristically, coach Buzz Williams did not make a substitution until the 14:41 mark of the first half, when Jamil Wilson picked up his second foul. That left players like Otule, Taylor and Jake Thomas on the floor much longer than usual at the beginning of the contest, and allowed Otule and Taylor to find early rhythm. Otule scored eight point and Taylor scored six before either subbed out.
The Golden Eagles didn’t play particularly well in the first half. They succeeded in pounding the ball in the post with 40 points in the paint, and shot 46.7 percent as a result. However, they went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc and just 10-for-21 at the free throw line. Marquette led 52-35 at the break.
The second half was a different story. Marquette blitzed Grambling out of the intermission, thanks in part to Thomas finding the hot hand. He scored 11 points in the first six minutes of the second frame, and made three three-pointers. The Golden Eagles went on a 16-2 run in the first five minutes, and never looked back.
As a team, Marquette shot 64.9 percent from the field in the second half. MU also made five of its nine threes after the break and made 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
In a feel good moment, Williams instructed his team to intentionally foul with 30 seconds remaining so junior walk-on Dylan Flood could check in. The crowd roared at Flood’s entrance and apparently he listened, because he grabbed a rebound on the resulting free throw and drove to the lane at the other end for his first career points.
Jamil Wilson, Davante Gardner and Juan Anderson also finished in double-figures for Marquette. Derrick Wilson had a game-high 10 assists, but was the only Marquette player not to score. Marquette used its superior size to outscore Grambling in the paint 76-20 and secure a 56-41 rebounding advantage.
Marquette next faces No. 10 Ohio State in the marquee non-conference game on its schedule. The Golden Eagles will need to bring their A-game as the battle Aaron Craft and the Buckeyes at noon CT Saturday at the Bradley Center.