Marquette Travels to Xavier Thursday Night At 8 p.m. CT
Jan. 7, 2014
TV Info: FOX Sports 1 | Radio Info: 540 ESPN
The Marquette University men’s basketball team (9-6, 1-1 BIG EAST) continues BIG EAST Conference play Thursday evening on the road when the squad travels to Xavier (12-3, 2-0 BIG EAST). FOX Sports 1 will feature the television broadcast, with Thom Brennaman (play-by-play) and Donny Marshall (analyst) calling the action. The Golden Eagles will have a quick turnaround following the matchup with the Musketeers. MU returns to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. CT outing against Seton Hall on FS Wisconsin.
MU Familiar With New League Opponent
While Marquette and Xavier will be meeting for the first time in BIG EAST Conference play on Thursday night, the two programs do have an extensive all-time series.
The Golden Eagles own a 46-15 overall lead in matchups that date back to the 1958-59 campaign. MU dominated the pairings during the Al McGuire and Hank Raymonds era, at one point claiming 26-straight victories between 1969 and 1983.
The most recent contest came in the 2011 NCAA tournament and resulted in a 66-55 win for MU. Darius Johnson-Odom led the Golden Eagles with 19 points in that game and the team would advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time under head coach Buzz Williams. Seniors Davante Gardner (4 pts., 5 rebs.) and Chris Otule (2 rebs.) are the only to current Golden Eagles to have played in that game.
Both Marquette and Xavier are currently scheduled to compete in the 2014 Old Spice Classic, an event both squads competed in during the 2009-10 campaign.
Gardner Joins 1,000-Point Club At Marquette
With his 10th point (layup at 17:03 mark of second half) in the win Saturday afternoon over DePaul, senior forward Davante Gardner became the 45th player in Marquette’s storied history to score 1,000 career points.
The Suffolk, Va., native now owns 1,018 points to rank 44th at MU and has the opportunity to make a significant move up the list with half of the 2013-14 campaign remaining. Gardner is the eighth player with at least one season of action under head coach Buzz Williams to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Gardner netted a career-high 28 points against DePaul, helping the team rally from a 10-point deficit in the second half. He was 9-of-14 from the field and knocked down 10-of-11 free throw attempts. For his efforts in the first two league outings, he was named to the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll.
Starting Lineup Tweak Cuts Into Bench Production
With the insertion of leading scorer and rebounder Davante Gardner into the starting lineup versus DePaul, the production level of MU’s bench corps took a significant hit.
Marquette’s reserves entered the matchup with the Blue Demons accounting for nearly 50 percent of the program’s total offensive attack. In the win over DePaul, the bench produced only 14 points and was outscored by its opponent (Nov. 8 vs. Southern) for only the second time all season.
Part of the reason for the decreased contribution was the fact head coach Buzz Williams utilized a season-low eight players against DePaul.
Burton Getting Comfortable At Both Ends
Freshman forward Deonte Burton has received recognition from the Marquette faithful this season for his ability at the offensive end of the court, but he has been just as impressive defensively.
The Milwaukee, Wis., native leads the team in steals (22) in just 14.7 minutes per night. Following his three-steal effort in the win over DePaul, Burton has now led the team in that category on seven occasions in 2013-14.
For the season, Burton is chipping in 6.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field.
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