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Golden Eagles Alumni all smiles with Super Sixteen berth

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Marquette cruised to victory against the Spartan Heroes, dominating from long range.

Marquette cruised to victory against the Spartan Heroes, dominating from long range.

Photo by John Steppe

Photo by John Steppe

Marquette cruised to victory against the Spartan Heroes, dominating from long range.

One night after having to use almost all of his voice in a narrow victory over the Hoopville Warriors, Wesley Matthews had a smile the size of his NBA contract, joking with his bench players in the second half of the Golden Eagles Alumni’s 97-70 rout of the Spartan Heroes.

The Golden Eagles Alumni were able to laugh thanks to an electrifying offensive exhibition in the first half.  After surrendering the first three points of the game, Marquette’s perimeter-centric offense took flight against a short-manned Spartan Heroes team, striking for a 16-0 run.

Later in the half, Joe Chapman’s perimeter offense was unstoppable, nailing three consecutive three-pointers to extend Marquette’s lead to 25-8.

The Golden Eagles Alumni continued to efficiently utilize the perimeter shot, finishing the half on efficient 61.1% three-point shooting and 59.4% shooting from the field.  As a result, Marquette owned a commanding 51-27 lead at halftime, their largest lead of the game.

“(Marquette) had some big time players playing at a high-level,” Spartan Heroes starter Brandon Wood said. “That’s what they do.”

“I think it was the combination of them knowing each other, running plays, executing the plays and trusting each other,” Spartan Heroes’ Leon Rodgers said.  “That’s where we kind of fell short.”

The strong offensive performance in the first half would not have been possible without starting guards Dwight Buycks and Joe Chapman, who combined to score 32 first half points– five more than the entire Spartan Heroes team.

Unlike Saturday, power forward Jamil Wilson was available after returning from summer league play with the Los Angeles Lakers. He quickly became an integral part of the team’s success.  After Marquette was out-rebounded 42-20 Saturday, Wilson helped MU stay even with the Spartan Heroes in the rebounding category in the first half of Sunday’s victory.

“The entire team contributed in scoring, rebounding and defense in a lot of different ways,” general manager Dan Fitzgerald said.  “We got everybody in and out, which was something we wanted to do because (the Spartan Heroes) were undermanned.”

Buycks finished the game with a team-leading 27 points, while Wilson scored 22 in his debut. Joe Chapman scored 16, going on an 11-point run in the first half.

The Golden Eagles Alumni will be back in action in the Super Sixteen next weekend in Philadelphia.  There, they’ll take on the Armored Athlete, an Indiana University-heavy roster with nine active pros.

“(Advancing to the Super Sixteen) is huge,” Wilson said. “It pays homage to all the work guys have put in over the years (at Marquette).”

The team is planning on arriving to the City of Brotherly Love Thursday.  The rest of the TBT action will be streamed on the ESPN networks.

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