Different day, same result.
Playing at a track-meet pace, the Marquette Golden Eagles outlasted DePaul, 89-78, Saturday afternoon at the BMO Harris Bradley Center to extend its home-winning streak to 22 straight games.
Led by 35 combined points from the backcourt duo of Vander Blue (a team-high 18) and Junior Cadougan, the 24th-ranked Golden Eagles (17-5, 8-2) saw five players score in double figures en route to matching the team’s highest scoring output this season (MU also net 89 points against Mississippi St. on Nov. 20).
In addition to continuing its string of dominance in Milwaukee, with the victory Marquette, who improved to 68-44 all time against the Blue Demons (10-13, 1-9), pulled ahead of the Syracuse Orange by a half game atop the Big East Standings.
Jim Boehim’s club plays against St. John’s on Sunday.
“With each passing game, minus Louisville, we have continued to improve,” cited Marquette head coach Buzz Willliams, whose club shot 56.4 percent (31-of-55) on the game, according to the AP. “We are trending in the right direction, but I know there is an avalanche coming at us in the next 25 days.”
Indeed, as Williams’ club—following a trio of wins against the Big East cellar dwellers (South Florida and DePaul) since Jan. 28—will face ranked foes in No. 20 Georgetown and No. 23 Pitt, respectively, in their next two outings.
If Saturday’s performance is any indication, however, the Golden Eagles are well positioned to continue their winning ways.
Paced by 10 points from the 6’1”, 205-pound Cadougan, Marquette, victors in seven of their past eight meetings with DePaul, shot a red-hot 56.7 percent from the field in the opening frame and boasted a 43-38 lead at intermission.
DePaul, who entered the weekend averaging the second most points among league affiliates, never let Marquette break the game open early on and pulled to within 54-52 following a three-point basket from Brandon Young (who finished with a game-high 21 points) with 15:06 to play.
MU, winners in 10 of their past 12 contests, responded with a 14-7 run to make it a nine-point affair at the 8:31 mark.
Buoyed by a pair of Worrel Clahar three pointers, however, Oliver Purnell’s club brought suspense back into the equation for the 16,176 in attendance—albeit momentarily. Having dropped seven straight and nine of 10 entering the weekend, the Blue Demons would quickly see victory elude them yet again.
Beginning with a pair of free tosses via Davante Gardner, who finished with 13 points, Marquette would account for 10 of the game’s subsequent 12 points to ensure that Al McGuire Day would culminate with a win.
“From top to bottom, we have everything we need,” noted Blue, who has paced the blue and gold in scoring the past four games, as reported by the AP. “This year, the NCAA is going to be wide open. You’re seeing all these number one teams lose. Teams don’t want to play us in March.”
Marquette also received a strong showing from center Chris Otule, who put forth a stat line of 10 points (his first double-digit scoring effort since Nov. 21) and five rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Following a one-day layoff, the Golden Eagles, who scored 50 points in the paint against DePaul, return to action when the pay the Hoyas of Georgetown a visit at the Verizon Center.
Tip off between Marquette and No. 20 Georgetown (17-4, 7-3) in slated for 6:00p.m. CT on Monday.