Alright, class: what are the two rules of cupcake-season basketball?
(CLASS STANDS AND CHANTS LIKE THE BRITISH KIDS IN THE PINK FLOYD "ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL PT. 2" VIDEO)
(1) We don't need no one to get hurt.
(2) We need everyone to get some run.
All in all, it was a successful evening for YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles, who shook off the rust of a week-long layoff (and the emotional hangover from dispatching Bo Ryan into early-ish retirement) to down the Cougars of Chicago State, 91-74 tonight at the Bradley Center.
The local 5 had heavy legs coming out of the gate, as a Haanif Cheatham turnover and a couple of quick Cougar bombs gave CSU an early 8-3 lead, and the margin stretched to 11-4 on Quron Davis' and-1 layup. But MU decided that was enough funny business for one night, and a 24-5 run over the next 8 minutes -- fueled by 9 points by Sandy Cohen III and 5 from Luke Fischer -- staked the Golden Eagles to a double-digit lead at 28-16 with 8:47 to play in the half. Chicago State responded with a 12-3 run to shave the deficit to three, but Duane Wilson restored order with 10 points in the last 5 minutes (two 3s, two throws, and a layup) and Marquette was comfortably ahead at the break, 56-33, despite not playing all that well.
Chicago State got frisky again to start the second half with a lightning-quick 8-0 run, but Wilson got MU off the schneid with a triple; then Henry Ellenson went to work with two free throws and a 3-pointer of his own, and the closest the Cougars would get the rest of the way was 15 down at 89-74. Marquette didn't exactly light things up from the field in the second half, but with Chicago State unable to keep its hands to itself, there was a steady parade to the free throw line, and MU's 24-32 showing from the stripe kept things from getting interesting.
Ellenson turned in his sixth double-double of the young season with a 19-point, 13-rebound effort, and he would've had 25 if not for some hard luck on a couple of bunnies that rimmed out in the first half. Building off his strong showing in Madison, Wilson was once again in control throughout, ending the night with 18 points and 6 assists. Fischer was solid with 14 and 8 (and seemed to escape serious injury when he took a nasty tumble with four minutes to go in the second half), and Jajuan Johnson submitted a Vander Blue Memorial Stat Stuffer Special with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 steals.
With the win, Marquette is now riding an eight-game winning streak -- though, to be fair, forcing Bo Ryan to quit midseason should count for an extra win -- and sits at 9-2 on the year. There's one non-conference tune-up left before the Big East season starts when Presbyterian pays a visit to the Bradley Center on Sunday.