Marquette Men’s Basketball: Big second half leads MU to easy win

Much like the Southeastern Louisiana game 13 days ago, it took longer than it should have, but Marquette eventually pulled away from Maryland-Baltimore County Monday night for a 79-46 victory.

The Golden Eagles, who improved to 5-1 with the win, were led by redshirt junior forward Jamil Wilson’s 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Wilson is now 14-of-17 from the field in his last two games. He also pulled down six rebounds in 21 minutes.

“He’s a good player,” coach Buzz Williams said. “When his talent and heart are on the same page, he’s really, really good.When he’s relying strictly on his talent, then that’s what he looks like. He just looks like a really good athlete that doesn’t play hard enough to win.

“But when his heart and his talent are on the same page, he’s really good.”

Marquette looked out of sorts at times, but was able to outscore a smaller UMBC team 44-22 in the paint and assisted on 28-of-31 made baskets.

It wasn’t until a 13-2 run that culminated in a Wilson 3-pointer with 13:31 left that Marquette earned its first double-digit lead of the game.

Things really escalated quickly and got out of hand when Marquette stretched that run to 17-2 before a layup by UMBC’s Ryan Cook cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to 47-33 with 11:49 to play.

UMBC actually held a lead as late as 16:52 in the game, before a 37-5 run over the course of 11:01 in the second half was plenty for Marquette to pull away.

“When I got subbed in, I just told Junior (Cadougan) ‘we have to take good shots, easy shots and attack that zone press they were doing,’ because we were too passive in the first half,” redshirt junior guard Jake Thomas. “We were just overthinking it in the first half.”

Marquette actually made 10 shots in a row before sophomore guard Derrick Wilson missed a layup with 9:04 left.

The Golden Eagles shot 53.4 percent from the field for the game, including a blistering 71.4 percent in the second half. The defense was dominant throughout, as the Retrievers were held to just 38.5 percent in the first half and 33.3 percent overall.

Freshman forward Steve Taylor, Jr., scored nine points and pulled down five rebounds and looks to be getting more comfortable out on the court.

“It’s kind of hard because I’m a freshman and I’m still learning, but each day I’m getting better and better,” Taylor said. “Buzz just told me that I’m a go-get, so that means I have to go get all the boards.”

UMBC was held to 46 points, 28.2 points below its season average. Its previous low for points in a game was 70 in an 86-70 loss at Loyola (Md.) on Nov. 14.

Marquette also forced 18 turnovers while committing just 14 of its own.

UMBC, who fell to 1-4 with the loss, was led by junior forward Chase Plummer’s 12 points. Cook, the leading scorer in the America East conference entering the game at 18.5 points per game, was held to just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Former Marquette recruit Brett Roseboro did not have a stellar night for the Retrievers, scoring just two points before fouling out in 24 minutes.

Junior guard Vander Blue missed Monday night’s game due to a knee sprain suffered in the Golden Eagles’ 72-64 win over Southern California on Wednesday in the fifth place game of the Maui Invitational.

“I’ll have a better feel for his availability tomorrow,” Williams said. “He shot this afternoon and he went through warm ups. I don’t anticipate it being a problem.”