Marquette Hosts No. 7/8 Xavier Saturday At 1 p.m. CT
Jan. 14, 2016
TV: FS1 | Radio: 540 ESPN
MU’s Series With Xavier Has Long History
While the 2015-16 campaign marks just Xavier’s third in the BIG EAST Conference, the series between Marquette and the Musketeers has plenty of history.
The Golden Eagles own a 47-19 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 lone NCAA tournament meeting came in 2010-11 and resulted in a 66-55 Marquette win in the opening round and started the team’s run to a Sweet 16 appearance. XU posted a 67-63 win over MU at home in the 2000 National Invitation Tournament.
The Musketeers have claimed the last three meetings and 4-of-5 overall, including a sweep of the home-and-home series in 2014-15. In the most recent outing, Marquette dropped a 64-44 decision at home on Feb. 10, 2015. Guard Duane Wilson led the team with 12 points in that game, but MU was without the services of leading scorer Matt Carlino. XU edged the Golden Eagles 62-58 at the Cintas Center on Jan. 17.
Freshmen Learning On The Job In BIG EAST Play
The Golden Eagles have featured three freshmen in the starting lineup for a majority of the season in 2015-16 and while the group has encountered success in non-conference play, it has had to learn on the job very quickly in BIG EAST Conference play.
Through the team’s first five league outings, MU’s first-year players are accounting for a league-high 52.4 percent (524-of-1,000) of the team’s total minutes. Forward Henry Ellenson leads the way with 34.8 minutes per game and Haanif Cheatham (32.4 mpg.) and Traci Carter (22.4 mpg.) combine to collect a majority of the playing time.
BIG EAST Schedule Providing Plenty Of Top-25 Matchups
With four BIG EAST teams currently ranked among the nation’s best, Marquette will have plenty of opportunities to claim top-25 wins this season.
The Golden Eagles are 115-182 all-time versus programs in the top-25 at the time of the matchup, including a 43-111 mark against top-10 squads. MU added a win to both categories on Jan. 5, downing No. 8/9 Providence 65-64 on the road, the program’s first win over a top-10 team since the 2013 Sweet 16 matchup versus Miami.
With games at No. 6/7 Villanova and versus No. 7/8 Xavier this week, Marquette will play back-to-back games against top-10 programs for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. That season, the Golden Eagles dropped matchups at both No. 9 Georgetown and No. 1 Syracuse in the opening week of the BIG EAST season.
Marquette defeated No. 22/17 LSU earlier this season at the Legends Classic for the team’s first top-25 victory under head coach Steve Wojciechowski.
Marquette Sees Villanova Pull Away For League Win
Marquette rallied from an early double-digit first-half deficit to take a 38-37 lead at halftime, but saw No. 6/7 Villanova pull away for an 83-68 victory with a strong second half.
The Golden Eagles outscored the Wildcats 31-10 (trailed 21-7) over the course of the final 11 minutes of the first half, thanks in large part to 61.5 percent shooting from the floor and 20 points in the paint. It was a different story in the second half, however, as Marquette knocked down just 29.6 percent of its shots while Villanova converted on 52.0 percent of its chances over the course of the final 20 minutes.
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