Marquette bounced back from their first loss Tuesday night, as they returned home from the Chicago Invitational. Wesley Matthews again led the Golden Eagles with 18 points and led No. 25 Marquette (6-1) to an 81-67 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-4).
MU started off slowly, shooting just 37% (10-27) from the field in the first half. The Chips kept things close throughout, as Marquette's injury-plagued lineup continued to force players to play positions usually unfamiliar to them. Wes Matthews matched up against CMU's power forwards and Lazar Hayward platooned at Center, playing alongside four Marquette guards. Heading into halftime, the Golden Eagles led 36-27.
In what has been a recurring theme in the seven-game Buzz Williams regime, the Blue and Gold-donned men jumped out to a fast start in the second half. They stretched their lead to 18 after a 13-4 run. Coach Williams's bench outscored Central's, 17-6, a positive sign after its struggle against the Dayton Flyers last Friday night.
Foul trouble continues to plague Marquette, as Lazar Hayward fouled out, while Dwight Burke and Wes Matthews both had four fouls. But most of those fouls came late in the second half, when the game was already out of Central Michigan's reach. To Coach Williams's credit, the team's tenacity was controlled and incredibly effective. Nine steals led to 18 points, and the defensive effort is slowly starting to gain its own identity.
Dominic James poured in 15 points and Lazar Hayward scored 14 for Marquette, who faces off at home against the University of Wisconsin, Saturday at 8:30 P.M.
MUTV Assistant Sports Director