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Wilson leads No. 25 Marquette over Fullerton 86-66

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FULLERTON, Calif. (AP)

Cal State Fullerton entered its game with Marquette with the hopes of earning a signature win.

Unfortunately for the Titans, it was apparent pretty quickly that it wasn't going to happen.

The Titans fell behind by double-digits midway through the first half and never recovered, falling to No. 25 Marquette 86-66 in the first round of the Wooden Legacy on Thursday.

''For the most part I thought our group competed (and) I was proud of their effort,'' Cal State Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said. ''I thought they played the first half with great energy and at end of the day our team just wore out. Those guys are big with their size and that bothered us inside, we just didn't have an answer.''

Michael Williams led the Titans with 16 points, while Marquis Horne added 13 and Josh Gentry contributed 11. They will face Miami in a consolation bracket game on Friday.

The Titans (2-4) simply couldn't stop the Golden Eagles (4-2) from scoring. Marquette shot 55.7 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, both season highs, and also handily won the battle on the boards 40-20.

Jamil Wilson scored a career-high 24 points for Marquette, while Davante Gardner and Jajuan Johnson each chipped in 18 points off the bench. The Golden Eagles will face George Washington in the semifinals.

''I felt like their length bothered me personally and most of my teammates,'' Williams said. ''Their length was enough to change our shot and that was a big advantage for them.''

The Golden Eagles led by as many as 26 and their backups played the majority of the second half.

''We were moving the ball well and everyone collectively was making their shots,'' Wilson said. ''We really had no weakness on the floor. Guys made shots, guys attacked the basket, and we hit the offensive glass like we usually do.''

Wilson needed just one half of play to set his new career-high, scoring 20 points in the first half alone to help the Golden Eagles jump out to a 48-35 halftime lead. His previous career high was 19 points, which he had done twice.

All in all Wilson was 10 of 14 from the field, including 3 for 3 from beyond the arc, and also dished out five assists.

''I think I was just taking the shots they gave me, I wasn't really rushing anything,'' Wilson said. ''My team was looking for me for the most part.''

Wilson wasn't the only Marquette player with a high shooting percentage. Gardner was 8 of 11 from the field and Johnson was 6 of 8, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range, and starting center Chris Otule scored hit 3 of 5 from the field with seven points in limited action.

''I think the ball is moving, it isn't getting stopped, and we're getting it reversed quickly,'' Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams said. ''I think that our ball and body movement in the last six days has been as good as it's been all year long.and I think that's somewhat helped our field goal percentage.''

Cal State Fullerton started off decently, pulling into an 11-11 tie on a Horne jumper just over five minutes into the game.

That was the last time the Titans would be in it though, as the Golden Eagles reeled off a 20-8 run to take a double-digit lead and get the rout started. Wilson scored eight points during that run and Gardner scored six.

''I don't think we were nervous about playing Marquette,'' Taylor said. ''I think we have already been through this experience. I think we just wore down with their size. If you put two of those guys together they have 14-15 feet of size, and you can't even put two of our guys together and get that much size. I think they had 42 points in the paint, which was their game plan and they took advantage of it.''

Tagged: Marquette, Cal State Fullerton, Michael Williams, Jamil Wilson, Davante Gardner

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