It was time for dessert for YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles today, who celebrated the end of Thanksgiving by feasting on the Tigers of Jackson State with an 80-61 cakewalk this afternoon at the Bradley Center.
Following the four-day holiday layoff, Marquette came out a bit sluggish, missing a quartet of 3-point attempts before Haanif Cheatham found the range to give MU a 9-7 lead. Cheatham didn't cool down from there, tallying 10 points in the opening 20 minutes, and Luke Fischer took full advantage of his massive height advantage in the paint, scoring 8 first-half points on a variety of dunks and bunnies. Henry Ellenson added 6 points, and Duane Wilson ended the half on a high note with two steals in the final 10 seconds: after swiping the ball but missing a layup, Wilson then knocked the ball free under Marquette's basket and laid it in a beat before the buzzer, staking MU to a 38-28 lead at the break.
After making a concerted effort to work the paint in Brooklyn, Marquette renewed its curious romance with the 3-ball today. Despite a healthy advantage on the interior (the tallest Tiger stands just 6'8"), Marquette put up 15 attempts from distance in the first half, connecting on just three. And after a better effort protecting the rock against Arizona State (11 turnovers), MU was once again sloppy with 7 first-half turnovers on the way to 15 for the game.
After a lightning-quick 8-0 run to open the second half, the only question became whether Marquette would do The Happy Ending or the Mega Happy Ending. Cheatham continued to get fat on the cupcake competition, sinking two 3-pointers and a jumper in the first 4 minutes of the half, and Ellenson hit a pair of pretty pick-n-pop jumpers on his way to a 15-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist afternoon.
Cheatham was huge all day and led four Golden Eagles in double figures with 24 points; Wilson notched 16 points and 4 steals, and Fischer finished with 11. The only Marquette regular not to get significant run was Jajuan Johnson, who'd just rejoined the team today following the death of his grandfather earlier this week. Grandpas are awesome, and death sucks; we send our sympathy to JJJ and his family.
Marquette sits 4-2 on the season now, while Jackson State drops to 2-5. Next on the schedule for YOUR Golden Eagles are another set of Tigers (get more creative with the mascots, people), as Grambling pays a visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.