After soaring high for the first two games of the season, the Golden Eagles found themselves torn apart by the Wolverines, who could not seem to miss much.
Marquette was able to hold a one-point lead for 26 seconds before the game was eventually tied at 15. From there, Michigan took complete control of the game with a 27-7 run. The Wolverines used a strong first half scoring performance and suffocating defense to get out to a great lead, before ultimately winning 79-61.
“We all came out amped up,” Michigan’s Zak Irvin said. “Playing at the Garden is a great experience for us. We knew it was going to be a home game for us, with all the fans who travel and come and support us."
The Wolverines used an overall team effort to take down the Golden Eagles, with four different players scoring in double figures—Irvin (16 points), Mark Donnal (15), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (15), Duncan Robinson (10), and D.J. Wilson (10).
Michigan overwhelmed Marquette in the first half, shooting 16-of-27 (59.3 percent) overall and 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) from long range. The Wolverines ripped apart the defense by finding the open man and just sinking the easy shot, whether it was an open man waiting patiently in the corner or a player cutting towards the basket.
The frustration carried over to the other end, as the Golden Eagles were disoriented on offense, having 14 of their 17 turnovers occur in the first half alone. Marquette, who shot over 40 percent in its first two games of the season, could not find the same success against Michigan, whose perimeter defense limited the Golden Eagles to shooting just 4-of-16 (25.0 percent) from beyond the arc.
“Good teams make you pay when you don’t do your job,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said.
Michigan built a 50-26 lead going into the break, and while Marquette showed a better effort in the second half, the lead was far too great for the Golden Eagles to overcome.
Luke Fischer led the Golden Eagles with 19 points and five rebounds. Hannif Cheatham added another 12 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought in the second half, we defended closer to what we had practice, but you have to put 40 minutes together of tough-minded basketball,” Wojciechowski said.
Three takeaways from the game:
Running Off the Line
Marquette, who shot 42.3 percent from long range in its first two games, was not able to achieve the same success against a suffocating Wolverine defense. Michigan defenders stuck to their man like glue, not offering any space on the 3-point line for Marquette shooters to get free and take a shot. As a result, Marquette had to go inside, where the Golden Eagles still struggled. It was restricted to just 1-of-3 shooting from long range in the first half, allowing Michigan to take control as the Wolverines held them in check. In the second half, the Golden Eagles hacked up more 3-pointers but were still ice cold. By taking away the 3-point shot, while maintaining a tough interior defense, the Golden Eagles were in a tough bind.
Major Motion Pictures
The Wolverines were able to establish their big lead from utilizing screen plays that the Golden Eagles had a difficult time with dealing with. Michigan was patient on offense, using fluid ball movement and swinging it around the floor. The Wolverines were always in motion, barely staying still. Michigan’s screens disoriented the Golden Eagles, who had a tough time staying on their assignments—whether it was not pressuring the ball handler enough, leaving a man wide open, or not providing enough backside help, especially to start the game.
Luke Fischer was a bright spot for the Golden Eagles. He missed a few easy layups in the beginning of the game, but was able to get it going as the evening progressed. Fischer scored a game-high 19 points and was able to get into a rhythm in the second half. In instances where the Golden Eagles are unable to knock down their shots from deep, it’s vital for him to establish an imposing presence in the front court, on both ends of the court. He needs to be the anchor in the post that his team can rely on for scoring and as a rim protector. 3-pointers aren’t going to fall every night, but he can’t disappear when that happens. He has to step up, and he showed glimpses of that on Thursday night.