With the pregame suspension of two starters, including its
leading scorer, and another play out with a key injury, Mount St.
Mary’s was more than a little short-handed for its season opener
against Marquette on Friday night.
Darius Johnson-Odom led a balanced Marquette attack with 16
points and the 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles rolled past the
”Definitely a daunting task against a team as good as them, and
a team with that type of matchup, the way they play, constant
pressure in all areas of the game,” Mountaineers coach Robert
Burke said. ”They have a lot of interchangeable parts on their
Jae Crowder and Chris Otule both added 14 points for Marquette,
which led 49-18 at halftime and was never threatened after the
game’s opening minutes.
Six players scored in double figures for the Golden Eagles and
Junior Cadougan tied a career-high with 10 assists.
Julian Norfleet led Mount St. Mary’s with 12 points.
Both teams were without players whose suspensions were announced
Mount St. Mary’s clearly felt it more as Burke announced the
indefinite suspension of senior guard Lamar Trice, the team’s
leading returning scorer (13.3) from last season, and sophomore
forward Kristijan Krajina for an unspecified violation of team
rules. Both would have started Friday.
Mount St. Mary’s was also without 6-foot-7 junior forward
Ja’Colby Wells, who was out with an ankle injury.
”They only had six scholarship guys, so who we prepared to play
was not exactly who we played,” Williams said. ”That incriminates
us even more, with 16 offensive rebounds (given up). But to force a
team into 29 turnovers and to hold them to the field goal
percentage that we did, all of those things were very
Marquette also was down a player. The school said before the
game that the NCAA has suspended freshman forward Juan Anderson for
the first three games of the season for accepting a free ticket to
a suite at a Milwaukee Brewers’ playoff game in October.
Still, Marquette cruised after a sluggish start – and after
Williams sent a message to his team by pulling his starters early
in favor of sophomore transfer forward Jamil Wilson, freshmen
guards Todd Mayo and Derrick Wilson and two occasionally used
reserves from last season – forwards Jamail Jones and Davante
The five reserves played well, using full-court pressure to help
Marquette to an early 10-5 lead, before the five starters returned
to the game at the 13:54 mark and took over. With the lineup of
Crowder, Otule, Johnson-Odom, Vander Blue and Cadougan back on the
court, Marquette went on a 23-4 run to take a 31-9 lead. Crowder
had nine points during the spurt.
”He’s got 10 guys who it looks like he can play,” Burke said.
”I think he knew we had six guys, so `let’s wear `em down, let’s
wear `em down.’
”I thought our guys, when we were fresh, we had some really
nice moments, some good execution. In the half court, we defended
The Mountaineers didn’t help themselves with 11 turnovers in the
first 10-plus minutes of the game, 18 in the first half and 29 in
the game. Mount St. Mary’s shot just 29.1 percent from the field
(16 of 55), including 2 of 18 from 3-point range.
Marquette hit 56.3 percent (36 of 64).
Marquette started the second half on a 10-3 run, and the
Mountaineers got no closer than 36 points after that.
”Coach likes to say that we’re not playing the opponent, we’re
playing ourselves,” Otule said. ”We know that we can come out
here and beat these teams, but what we have to do is focus on what
we do in practice, which is focus on stops, which is focus on
It was a strong start for Marquette, which is looking to return
to the NCAA tournament for the seventh straight season. The Golden
Eagles finished 22-11 and advanced to the round of 16 last season
but lost first-round draft pick Jimmy Butler from that team.
Burke said in a release that the two suspended players ”each
know what they need to do to meet the expectations of being a Mount
St. Mary’s basketball player. Once they have done this, they can
return to competing in games. Until then, they will continue to
practice with the team, but will not be allowed to play in
He declined further comment after the game.
Anderson accepted the ticket ”from someone other than his
parents/legal guardian, which is impermissible per NCAA rules,”
according a Marquette release. Marquette compliance staff
determined the violation during an internal review and immediately
self-reported it to the NCAA, the school said. The ruling was
Mount St. Mary’s dropped to 1-16 against Top 25 teams since
moving to Division I.
”It’s good for us, though, because there is some of that in our
conference,” Burke said. ”A lot of things they do we’ll see in
Marquette moved to 80-15 all-time in season openers and has won
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