Marquette is back home after splitting a pair of road games,
hoping it can build on the last one despite an ugly start.
The 18th-ranked Golden Eagles look to win their seventh straight
at the Bradley Center when they face Cincinnati on Saturday.
Marquette bounced back from a 76-59 loss at Notre Dame last
Saturday with an 89-76 win over DePaul on Monday. The Golden Eagles
(20-5, 9-3 Big East) have won eight of nine and are two games
behind No. 2 Syracuse in the conference.
Following the ugly defeat to the Irish, they got off to a slow
start against the Blue Demons, trailing by 12 late in the first
half before going on a 25-5 run spanning the first and second
halves to take control.
Five Marquette players scored in double figures. Jamil Wilson
had a season-high 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jae Crowder added
14 points and 11 boards.
“I think that’s how we should be playing,” said guard Darius
Johnson-Odom, who scored a game-high 23 points. “We should at least
get five guys in double figures. When we’re able to play like that
it’s hard for a lot teams to guard us because you don’t know who is
going to score because we have so many threats on the floor.”
Johnson-Odom, Marquette’s leading scorer, was held to 12 points
against the Irish while Crowder finished with four points and shot
2 of 7.
The Golden Eagles can’t afford bad games from those two with
Davante Gardner, their third-leading scorer, having missed the last
three games with a knee injury. It’s not certain when he will
If he’s not ready Saturday, Wilson is likely to get a fourth
straight start. He recorded his first career double-double Monday
and has averaged 11.5 points – nearly six above his career average
– and 5.3 rebounds the last six games.
“I thought he was the hardest-playing guy on the floor from
start to finish. He is our most talented player, his talent does
not always show and he is by far the perfect example of what my
children become as human beings,” coach Buzz Williams said.
Marquette will be looking to improve its 12-1 home record and
6-0 mark in conference play. It might not be easy to do against the
Bearcats, who have knocked off three ranked conference opponents on
the road and won in their visit to Marquette last season.
Cincinnati (17-7, 7-4) is looking to win its third straight. The
Bearcats are coming off a 76-54 victory over St. John’s on
Sean Kilpatrick scored 10 straight points in a 12-3 run that
gave Cincinnati a 44-27 lead with 15:26 to play. He finished with
eight rebounds as the Bearcats held a 49-29 rebounding
Yancy Gates had 14 points and nine rebounds while Cashmere
Wright had 12 points and 10 boards.
“I think it was a must-win,” Wright said. “We lost to them in
Cincinnati so we had to come here and get a win. We’re trying to
make the tournament for Yancy and Dion (Dixon) for their senior
season so we had to get a win.”
Cincinnati’s play against the top teams in the conference bodes
well for its tournament resume. The Bearcats have three Big East
road victories against Top 25 schools.
Cincinnati snapped a three-game losing streak against Marquette
with a 67-60 win at the Bradley Center on March 2.