Junior guard Vander Blue had a special night against South Florida scoring almost half of his team’s points in Marquette’s 63-50 win.
Blue propelled the Golden Eagles over the Bulls shooting an impressive 65 percent from the floor and knocking down a 3-pointer for the ninth consecutive game. He finished with a career-high 30 points to lead all scorers while only one of his teammates (Trent Lockett) reached double-digits.
Chris Otule threw down back-to-back dunks to open the scoring for Marquette and recorded a career-high four blocks.
With the score tied at 17 with 7:25 left in the first half, the Bulls took the lead on a 3-pointer from Zach LeDay. After Blue made one of two free throws, JaVontae Hawkins gave South Florida it’s largest lead of the game with a layup that made it 22-18.
Blue and Davante Gardner led a 10-2 run to close the half for the Golden Eagles as they headed into the locker room up 28-24.
Marquette came out firing in the second half, while USF seemed stuck in neutral.
The Bulls didn’t score their first point of the half until the 15:11 mark as Blue led another big 14-3 run to put the Golden Eagles up by 15 points with 13:59 to play.
Shortly after, Gardner was called for a flagrant 2 foul while fighting for a rebound and was ejected from the game. Gardner exited with four points and three rebounds and could be suspended from Sunday’s game at Louisville pending a Big East decision.
From then on, South Florida cut the deficit to eight points four times, but Marquette kept a nice cushion thanks to continued stellar play from Blue.
Despite Gardner’s absence, the Golden Eagles dominated the paint scoring 38 to USF’s 14 under the basket, winning the battle of the boards 34-30 and blocking eight shots as a team.
Trent Lockett finished with 10 points and eight rebounds while Junior Cadougan led the team in assists with six. Steve Taylor Jr. finished with six points and three rebounds and Juan Anderson had a nice showing with four points, a block, a steal and five rebounds.
Todd Mayo played a limited role yet again with just one rebound in six minutes.
The victory moved the Golden Eagles into a tie with Syracuse for first place in the Big East and was Marquette’s 21st straight at the Bradley Center. The run is now the sixth highest in the nation among home winning streaks.