No. 16 Marquette upsets No. 9 Wisconsin
As if a trip to in-state rival Wisconsin wasn’t enough to occupy their minds, Marquette players found out Friday they would be without point guard Junior Cadougan for the matchup with the Badgers.
Marquette suspended Cadougan one game for an unspecified violation of team rules but the 16th-ranked Golden Eagles found a way to win without him, beating No. 9 Wisconsin 61-54 on Saturday.
Darius Johnson-Odom scored 17 points and freshman Todd Mayo — the younger brother of NBA player O.J. Mayo — added 14 as Marquette (7-0) ended Wisconsin’s 23-game home winning streak.
How did the Golden Eagles respond to the loss of their floor leader?
”I think the reality speaks for itself,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.
Jordan Taylor scored 13 and tried to lead a late comeback charge for the Badgers (6-2). But it fell short, and the Badgers now have lost two straight.
Even without Cadougan, the Golden Eagles seemed comfortable playing at Wisconsin’s deliberate tempo and generally didn’t lose their focus on defense.
Marquette announced shortly before the game that Cadougan would not be in uniform and would miss only Saturday’s game for the unspecified violation.
Williams did not give a specific reason for Cadougan’s suspension, saying only that it did not involve a legal issue. Cadougan will return against Washington on Tuesday night.
”He made a mistake yesterday, and my decision was to suspend him from this game,” Williams said. ”That’s the end of it. He made a mistake that was not intelligent in nature. It did not hurt anyone, but it was not how his mom raised him.”
Without Cadougan, Marquette beat Wisconsin primarily with defense and inside play.
The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Badgers 44-32, outscored them by 16 in the paint and had 17 second-chance points to Wisconsin’s five.
”That’s where they got us, on second-chance opportunities,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said.
Marquette held Wisconsin to 32 percent shooting and 5 for 19 from 3-point range.
”We could have laid down and take the loss but that just shows the character of our team,” Golden Eagles guard Vander Blue said. ”No matter what, we’re going to fight for the end.”
After Wednesday’s loss at North Carolina, the Badgers have lost two straight and suddenly look a little more like a work in progress than a team that’s ready to challenge for the Big Ten title.
Wisconsin didn’t shoot well from outside in either loss.
”We know our weaknesses, we know our flaws,” Ryan said. ”We know where they are. And we’ve always said we’ve got to hit shots, especially from the perimeter, in order to free up some stuff coming to the basket.”
Except for a late scoring spurt that kept Wisconsin in the game, Marquette guarded Taylor fairly well, forcing the sure-handed guard into five turnovers.
”It’s hard to make him turn over even once,” Johnson-Odom said. ”When you get a player that good get a little bit of frustration in him and turn the ball over that many times, I think you did an OK job. He’s an incredible player. It just comes at a timely time for us to win this game.”
With Marquette leading 51-42, Taylor — who appeared to hurt his right ankle on the previous possession — hit a jumper with just over four minutes left, then cut the deficit to five with a pair of free throws.
Taylor then hit a driving layup to get the Badgers within three.
But Mayo scored on a high-arching layup, and Davante Gardner scored on a tip-in to give the Golden Eagles a 55-48 lead.
Ben Brust hit a 3-pointer for Wisconsin with about a minute left, cutting the lead to four, but the Golden Eagles hit their free throws down the stretch and Mayo added an emphatic dunk for a big finish.
It was a particularly sweet victory for Blue, who had nine points and eight rebounds.
The Madison native originally appeared to be headed to Wisconsin before changing his mind and committing to Marquette. The crowd booed Blue virtually every time he touched the ball, but Blue walked away with the win.
”I knew what to expect coming in with the fans, the crowd and coming back here,” Blue said. ”I’m just happy we got the win. Last year, I really wanted to win but we couldn’t. Finally, we got the chance to win and we took it to them.”