Marquette Cruises Past Vanderbilt, 95-71, in Season Opener
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Four players reached double figures as Jajuan Johnson led the way with 21 points and a game-high six steals as team defense and a big second-half surge propelled Marquette to a convincing 95-71 win over Vanderbilt in the 2016-17 lidlifter and opening game of the Veterans Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday night.
The Golden Eagles (1-0) forced 19 turnovers, converting them into a whopping 35 points, and used a 16-0 run to break open a 46-44 lead early in the second half en route to the win. MU established its presence inside early on, scoring 20 of its first 25 points in the paint, before an impressive perimeter display left the Commodores (0-1) without an answer.
Marquette shot 52.7 percent (39-74) from the field and went 13-for-31 from long distance in capturing its 16th win in its previous 18 season openers. After shooting over 45 percent in the first half, MU shot a blistering 59 percent (23-39) in the second half, going 10-for-19 from three-point range.
Johnson finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-5 from long range. Luke Fischer added 18 points and seven rebounds to go along with three blocks and two steals, and Haanif Cheatham chipped in 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Freshman Sam Hauser went 5-for-8, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, to finish with 14 points in 19 minutes off the bench. MU's bench outscored Vanderbilt, 32-19.
The Golden Eagles led for the majority of the first half, but trailed 40-39 at halftime after shooting 45.7 percent (16-35) from the field.
Luke Kornet led Vanderbilt with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes. The Commodores shot just 39.7 percent (23-58) from the field and were just 8-for-24 from long distance.
In a series that dates all the way back to the 1920-21 season, Friday's win marked the first over Vanderbilt since the second round of the 1974 NCAA tournament.
The Golden Eagles will return to Milwaukee on Monday, Nov. 14 to play host to Howard in the regular season home opener at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Central time.
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