No. 25 MU Topples Cal State Fullerton, 86-66
Nov. 28, 2013
By Mel Franks
FULLERTON, Calif. - Jamil Wilson scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the first half to lead No. 25-ranked Marquette (4-2) to an eased up 86-66 victory over outmanned Cal State Fullerton (2-4) in Thursday's second game of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy in Titan Gym at Cal State Fullerton.
Wilson made 10 of 14 field goal attempts and also grabbed 9 rebounds as Marquette doubled up the Titans in rebounding, 40-20.
The Golden Eagles advance to the second round where they will play George Washington, an earlier 71-63 winner in overtime over Miami.
Fullerton was led by guard Michael Williams with 16 points. Marquis Horne added 13 points and Josh Gentry had 11 but no Titan had more than 5 rebounds.
"Offensive rebounding and points in transition are always our points of emphasis," said Wilson, "and today we took advantage of our size."
Marquette had 15 offensive rebounds, the same number of defensive caroms collected by the Titans, who are hosting the first two days of the tournament. Sunday's games will be played at Honda Center in Anaheim.
The Golden Eagles opened the second half with an 18-6 run to build a lead of 25 points at 66-41 with 12:24 to play. The advantage stayed between 19 and 26 points the rest of the way.
"It was good to see Jamil come alive today," said Marquette Coach Buzz Williams. "Our confidence is growing because we are learning to play the right way."
Fullerton stayed within reach for most of the first half by making 7 of 11 3-point tries but still trailed at the half, 48-35, when Wilson hit a trey to beat the buzzer. The Golden Eagles used a 16-5 run to break away from a tie at 11 at the 14-minute mark. The Titans got as close as 6 points before Marquette closed the half with a 10-3 run.
"I was proud of our effort and we had great energy in the first half," said Fullerton first-year Coach Dedrique Taylor. "We just got worn down. Their size bothered us inside.
"I'm sure their game plan was to exploit that... we didn't have an answer for that."
Fullerton played its third consecutive game without its leading scorer, guard Alex Harris (17.7 points per game), who is day-to-day due to an ankle injury.
"I don't think we were nervous about playing Marquette. I think we have already been through this experience. I think we just wore down with their size and if you put two of those guys together they have 14-15 feet of size and you can't even put two of our guys together and get that much size. I think they had 42 points in the paint, which was their game plan and they took advantage of it. I don't think the environment really bothered us either, actually I think it was good to be home wearing our white uniforms for only the second time all year."
"They were bigger, but the rebounds that concern and disappoint me are the ones that are dribbling around on the floor and are away from the rim where their size can't be an advantage, its just a quickness thing. I think we let ourselves get off the hook with those plays and we call those fifty-fifty plays here. I think there were six or seven that could have went our way and we just didn't make those plays. So those are the ones that we need to focus on and we should be able to make."
"Alex Harris is day-to-day and were hoping and waiting to do what he needs to do with his rehab and get healthy, but until he gets the green light until he's not with us on the floor and we have to play the guys in uniform and they need to step up and unify."
"That is the beauty of playing in these tournaments they don't get any easier. When you win you get a good team and when you lose you get a good team. Well regroup tonight and get familiar with Miami and I know this team will be ready for the challenge. These tournaments help give you experience for the Big West tourney and we need to get familiar with this type of environment.
Cal State Fullerton Forward Marquis Horne-"It's going to be a good game we have to regroup and bring our mental focus be prepared and give 100 percent effort. We have to rebound the ball better than we did today, they got too many offensive rebounds, but well fix that".
Cal State Fullerton Guard Michael Williams-"I felt like their length bothered me personally and most of my teammates their length was enough to change our shot and that was a big advantage for them."
Marquette Coach Buzz Williams - "We're thankful to be here. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!"
"On the last two games - "The ball is moving. I don't think the ball is getting stuck. I think we're getting the ball reversed quickly. I think our ball and body movement has been as good as in the last six days as its been all year long and I think our guys see that and understand that. I think that's helped out our field goal percentage because we're taking more practice shots, what we call more us shots."
"Of the 25 minutes, I think he played 21 of them at the four. A lot of stuff we do at the four is on the perimeter. I'm not saying we need him to score 24 points or go 10 of 14 from the field, but it's a lot better than going one of seven. It takes a lot of pressure off from the other kids and gives Jamil a free mind. He's really talented as it was really good to see him play like that today."
Marquette Forward Jamil Wilson- "I think early in the season, every team goes through some struggles as they try to find out who they are as a team and everything. This year we have four freshman that's critical for our play with eight returning guys. We're just trying to find who we are as a group and the last couple of games we have picked it up, figuring what and what guys can do. The biggest thing is trusting in each other more and more every day."