In yet another big non-conference game, Marquette came up short Saturday afternoon in Madison. The Golden Eagles (5-4) stayed with the 10-0 Wisconsin Badgers for most of the contest, but never could quite pull in front in the second half.
The game MVP was certainly Wisconsin's Sam Dekker. The versatile sophomore forward scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting and pulled down a game-high ten rebounds. Dekker scored in every way imaginable for the Badgers. He made three pointers (going 3-for-5), attacked the basket, scored off of offensive rebounds, and even threw down a vicious two-handed dunk that demoralized the Marquette offense.
All five of Wisconsin's starters scored in double-digits. Point guard Traevon Jackson sliced up the Marquette defense for 12 points and seven assists, while Ben Brust, Frank Kaminsky and Josh Gasser scored 13, 11 and 10 points respectively.
Jamil Wilson took control of Marquette's offense and scored a game-high 22 points. Wilson made 10 of his 20 field goals, including 2-of-5 for beyond the arc, and added four rebounds and four assists.
With Marquette trailing by 11 late in the contest, Wilson tried to take over the game. He made a crucial three-pointer with 2:08 remaining to cut the Wisconsin lead to just 57-54. However, on the next possession, Kaminsky drilled a three from the top of the key, and Marquette never got within five points again.
Both Marquette centers also found double figures in scoring. Davante Gardner was dominant on the low block early in the game, but didn't shoot as much in the second half. He finished with 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting, but only pulled down three rebounds. Chris Otule scored 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting and had an impressive nine rebounds. Perhaps more importantly for Otule, he made five of his six free throw attempts. However, Otule did turn the ball over three times.
Marquette struggled from distance again, basically abandoning that type of shot until the last two minutes of the game. WIlson's three to cut the lead to three with 2:08 to go was Marquette's first triple, and the Golden Eagles added two more in garbage time to finish 3-for-8 for the game.
Jake Thomas no-showed again for Marquette, taking just one shot in 26 minutes of play. The three-point gunner had zero confidence and played shoddy defense. He fouled out with 39 seconds to go.
Neither Todd Mayo nor Steve Taylor played for Marquette. Mayo missed the game for a suspension due to a violation of team rules. Taylor continues to battle a nagging knee injury, and his role for the rest of the season is uncertain.
Marquette will need to dig deep in the coming weeks to find confidence entering Big East play. The team will take a break for finals before hosting IUPUI next Saturday.