Ice-cold Marquette falls to Ohio State
MILWAUKEE—Playing before a loud home crowd against a top-10 opponent on national television, No. 17 Marquette had all the ingredients to make a big early season statement.
Instead, they were flat coming out of the locker room after halftime and cold all afternoon from the field in a 52-35 loss Saturday to No. 10 Ohio State.
Shannon Scott (13 points) and Aaron Craft (10 points, 10 assists) provided the energy for the Buckeyes in a 12-4 run to open the second half and helped end Marquette's 27-game home winning streak.
“As I told our guys, I don't feel sorry for us at all. They beat us,” coach Buzz Williams said. “They beat us straight up. They beat us at home before a sellout crowd.”
Todd Mayo led Marquette (2-1) with 11 points. It was the school's first loss at the Bradley Center since Vanderbilt beat the Golden Eagles 74-57 on Dec. 29, 2011.
It certainly didn't help that the Golden Eagles had 20 turnovers and shot just 10 of 53 (19 percent) for the afternoon, including 4 of 24 (17 percent) in the second half.
The 35 total points is the lowest for Marquette since losing 55-35 to DePaul on Feb. 16, 2000. The Golden Eagles recently scored under 40 in a 55-39 loss to Syracuse in the NCAA regional semifinal last year.
The Buckeyes slowly took control with the run to open the second half, which included six points from Scott. Sam Thompson also scored 13 for the Buckeyes.
The 6-foot-1 Scott found gaps in Marquette's interior defense, then extended the lead to 44-28 with 6:31 left on a layup on the break.
Marquette point guard Derrick Wilson pointed to a lack of energy coming out of the locker room.
“Defensively, we just didn't get back in transition, and from that point on they had the advantage,” Wilson said.
Tied at 19 at halftime, the game opened up with Ohio State finally finding room inside to maneuver.
Center Amir Williams muscled his way down low for a basket. Then Williams sealed off Chris Otule in the lane to allow Scott to go in for an uncontested layup.
After forcing a steal of Jake Thomas, Scott sped down the court and drew a foul on a stutter-step jumper. Lenzelle Smith Jr. lowered his head driving the baseline and flipped up a tough left-handed shot around Marquette's big men for a 31-23 lead with 16:21 left.
“I think that the key that ignited that stretch was our defense,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We were able to get out in transition and maybe we were a little bit closer to the basket than we were in the first half.”
Coach Williams called a timeout that briefly settled his team before the Buckeyes pulled away again.
Ohio State had just three turnovers in the second half to 10 for the Golden Eagles, who are breaking in a new backcourt with last year's starting trio of Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan and Trent Lockett all gone.
Whatever the reason, Ohio State found its rhythm on the fastbreak, with a 16-0 edge, including 12-0 in the second half.
The bruising first half featured tussles under the bucket, plenty of rebounds and lots of missed shots. The teams combined to shoot 13 of 55 in a half that ended in a 19-all tie on Buckeye forward Marc Loving's 3 from the corner with 7 seconds left.
The Golden Eagles had briefly taken control with an 8-0 for an 18-14 lead with 4:47 left in the half by making tough shots in the lane, mainly with Amir Williams on the bench.
The 6-foot-11 Williams was otherwise a big problem for Marquette with five blocks, four in the first half.
Marquette's early run also came after a timeout during which the typically energetic Buzz Williams took off his jacket, exposing a light dress shirt already soaked with sweat.
The Golden Eagles did manage to outrebound Ohio State 50-34. Steve Taylor Jr. collected nine boards but didn't score, while Davante Gardner had 10 points and six rebounds.
The teams were scheduled to meet last year in the Carrier Classic in Charleston, S.C. aboard the USS Yorktown, but the game was called off because weather conditions caused the court to become too slippery.