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The Quick and Dirty: Marquette 67, Tennessee 59

That'll do. That'll do just fine.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations weren't exactly high for YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles when they departed for the friendly confines of Walt Disney World last week. No one was thinking of winning the suddenly-less-fresh-smelling Orlando Classic, of course, not with Michigan State and Kansas in the field, but after last weekend's loss to Nebraska freaking Omaha and a narrow win over NJIT, the bar got fixed at "don't embarrass yourselves and get a little bit better, maybe."

By that measure, the tournament -- and today's 67-59 triumph over the Tennessee Volunteers -- was a rousing success.

Shaking off some early difficulties breaking Tennessee's full-court press and a series of deficits in the first half -- 9-0, then 17-6, then 20-10 -- Marquette got off the mat thanks to a sterling effort from Duane Wilson, who finished the day with 30 points on 9-17 shooting (including five 3-pointers), and a helping hand from the always-steady Derrick Wilson, who finished with 11 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

With Marquette down 17-10 and sleepwalking through the opening 10 minutes of the game, Duane Wilson went to work, canning a jumper and converting an and-1 layup to get MU back into the game, and then putting in another layup and a 3-pointer from somewhere near Tampa to give Marquette a five-point cushion. And with Tennessee threatening to make things interesting in the second half, whittling Marquette's nine-point advantage to one, Duane buried two more triples to restore the Golden Eagles to a seven-point edge. The Volunteers couldn't get any closer than six points the rest of the way, and Marquette claimed a well-deserved third place in the eight-team field.

There's still a metric butt-ton of things Marquette needs to improve going forward -- MU got brutalized on the boards once again (39-22 overall, and a whopping 18 offensive rebounds surrendered), Steve Taylor really wore down as the only real option in the post, the lights have suddenly gotten very bright for Sandy Cohen III (3 minutes, goose-egg across the board except for a steal), and so on -- but for a team that was having its moxie questioned five days ago, YOUR Golden Eagles showed an impressive amount of guts and heart in the span of 96 hours. Things might not always be pretty for this crew, but they're at least throwing punches until the bell sounds.

And the timing couldn't be better, because Badger Hate Week is neXt.