Ohio State (3-0) showed no regard for Marquette’s (2-1) NCAA-best 27-game winning streak Saturday, as the No. 10 Buckeyes used suffocating defense and a timely second half run to handily defeat the No. 17 Golden Eagles 52-35 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Marquette, which scored its lowest point total since 2000, shot an abysmal 10-for-53 (18.9 percent) from the field and made just one of its 18 three-point attempts. The Golden Eagles had just four assists and turned the ball over 20 times.
"When we get beat, we say we got beat," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "All of the coaching clichés of, there was a lid on the basket and all that stuff, I don’t ever buy into that. I thought Ohio State was great."
The Buckeyes were great defensively, but their offense picked up the slack in the second half to make the difference in the game. Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson led OSU with 13 points apiece and Aaron Craft fell three rebounds short of a triple-double, as he scored 10 points, dished out 10 assists and pulled down seven boards. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta had a simple explanation for why things went his team’s way in the second half.
"Now listen closely," Matta said. "We made some shots, and Marquette didn’t."
Ohio State heated up in the second half, after both teams shot in the 20 percent range in an opening 20 minutes that ended 19-19. The Buckeyes shot a stellar 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) after the intermission and used a 16-5 run in the first nine minutes of the half to pull away for good.
At the same time, Marquette had its worst half of basketball in a long time. The Golden Eagles shot 4-for-24 (16.7 percent) from the field and scored just 16 points to OSU’s 33. Derrick Wilson said his team simply came out flat in the second half.
"The second half, we have to find a way to come out stronger," Wilson said. "I felt like we were flat. I have to do something to get the team going before the second half starts, because we can’t come out like that."
The game yielded some ghastly individual stat lines for Marquette players. Todd Mayo led the team in scoring with 11 points but shot just 3-for-15 from the field and turned the ball over five times. Jamil Wilson was a non-factor for the Golden Eagles, shooting 1-for-9 and scoring just three points. Shooting guard Jake Thomas, a potential X-factor in the matchup, went 0-for-7 from the field including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Marquette did do a great job on the glass, outrebounding the Buckeyes 50-34 and not allowing a second chance point all game. However, Ohio State made up for that discrepancy by scoring 16 points in transition and shutting out the Golden Eagles in the fast break department.
Marquette has a few days off the process the difficult defeat and will get back to work Thursday night at the Bradley Center against New Hampshire.