Marquette figures to be tested later in the week, but its
biggest opponent Monday night could be a lengthy layoff.
The No. 16 Golden Eagles return to action for the first time in
a week when they host a Jacksonville team playing a ranked opponent
for the second straight game.
Marquette is seeking its second 6-0 start in three seasons, and
will try to remain focused with a trip to face No. 11 Wisconsin set
for Saturday and a matchup with Washington in New York three days
The Golden Eagles have not played since winning the Paradise Jam
in the U.S. Virgin Islands last Monday with a 59-57 victory over
Norfolk State, their second victory over the Spartans in an
Marquette won the first meeting with Norfolk State by 31 points
and led by 14 with 11:40 left last week before needing to hold on
when the Spartans missed a late 3-pointer.
“This was the first time this year and there will be many more
times from here that we will be put to the fire a little bit,”
coach Buzz Williams said. “That’s good for us. This experience will
grow us up. I’m thankful we were able to win, but this experience
will be helpful for us later on.”
The Golden Eagles shot a season-low 37.9 percent after shooting
55.6 percent during their 4-0 start.
Darius Johnson-Odom was a model of consistency in the
tournament’s three games, winning MVP honors by scoring 20 points
every time. The 6-foot-2 guard is shooting 56.9 percent thus
“The MVP award is nice, but I’m nothing without my team,”
Johnson-Odom said. “The guys around me made this happen.”
Williams has used the same lineup in every game, and his bench
is developing nicely with Davante Gardner and freshman Todd
Gardner is the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 8.4 points per
game, shooting 61.9 percent. Mayo, the brother of Memphis Grizzlies
guard O.J. Mayo, is leading all reserves with an average of 16.6
minutes and has made 6 of 14 3-pointers.
The Golden Eagles figure to give their reserves plenty of
playing time if Jacksonville (2-3) fares as poorly as it did in its
last game. The Dolphins fell 107-62 at No. 10 Florida on
“Florida came out and played hard and did what they had to do,
so we have to give them credit,” Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren
Warren has built a solid program with five straight winning
seasons and back-to-back 20-win campaigns. This season’s team has
been very balanced with five players averaging between 10.0 and
Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection Delwan Graham,
however, is struggling. Graham is averaging 6.7 points on 37.5
percent shooting in his last three games.
Marquette won the lone previous meeting with Jacksonville 88-79
on Feb. 16, 1972.