MU Travels To No. 7/7 Florida For SEC/BIG EAST Challenge
Nov. 27, 2012
TV: ESPN2 | Radio: 540 ESPN | Marquette Basketball Hour Podcast (Nov. 27)
The Marquette University men's basketball team (5-1) travels to Florida Thursday night for the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge at 8 p.m. CT in a rematch of last year's NCAA Sweet 16 encounter. ESPN2 will feature the national television broadcast, with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) calling the action. Following the outing against the Gators, MU will have over a week to prepare for its Dec. 8 matchup with rival Wisconsin at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
SEC/BIG EAST Challenge Provides Familiar Foe
Marquette will face its second Southeastern Conference opponent of the campaign Thursday night when the team travels to No. 7/7 Florida for the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge.
The Gators ended MU's 2011-12 season with a 68-58 victory in the NCAA Sweet 16 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Guard Bradley Beal led the way with 21 points for Florida, while forward Jae Crowder paced Marquette with 15 points and guard Darius Johnson-Odom chipped in 14 points. As a team, however, the Golden Eagles shot just 30.8 percent from the field.
Marquette claimed the first two meetings with Florida, which came in back-to-back seasons (1976-77 and 1977-78) and included MU's run to the national championship in 1977.
MU defeated SEC foe Mississippi State 89-62 on Nov. 20 in the second game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
Strong Second Half Leads MU To Win Over UMBC
The Golden Eagles led 28-24 at the intermission Monday night against UMBC, but were able to take control of the game with a 31-3 run following halftime.
MU outscored the Retrievers 51-22 over the course of the final 20 minutes, finishing 71.4 percent (20-of-28) from the field after the break. The defensive effort was just as impressive, holding UMBC to 33.3 percent from the floor for the game and only 29.0 percent (9-of-31) in the second stanza.
Bench Has Been Providing Spark At Both Ends
With the contribution of several players to the bench corps this season, Marquette's impressive advantage over opponents when comparing the efforts of the reserve units has been magnified.
MU's group of players not in the starting lineup is currently contributing 35.0 points and 22.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 55.6 percent from the field as a unit and 38.7 percent from behind the 3-point line. Opposing reserves, however, are chipping in just 11.0 points and 9.5 boards per contest and shooting 38.5 percent from the floor overall and 20.0 percent from long distance.
Marquette has been led offensively by Davante Gardner, who has appeared off the bench in all six outings (14.0 ppg.).
Jamil Wilson Picking Up Offensive Production
Junior forward Jamil Wilson has not only picked up his offensive production in the team's last three games, he has also significantly raised his efficiency.
In outings against Mississippi State, USC and UMBC, Wilson combined to shoot 81.8 percent (18-of-22) from the field overall and 66.7 percent (4-of-6) from behind the 3-point line. He also drained all of his free throw attempts in 24.0 minutes per night.
The Racine, Wis., native's highlight thus far was a personal-best 19 points in 32 minutes of action off the bench against USC. He shot 7-of-9 from the floor, including a 3-of-4 effort from behind the 3-point line. Wilson also found time to chip in six rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot in the victory.
For the season, Wilson is contributing 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Anderson Making The Most Of His Minutes
Sophomore forward Juan Anderson, who was slowed by injuries a majority of his freshman campaign in 2011-12, has made the most of his opportunities this season.
The Oakland, Calif., native has appeared in all six outings for MU, which includes four starting assignments. He is chipping in 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest in 17.5 minutes per game and showed his versatility by playing the small forward position Monday night against UMBC.
Anderson made just 24 appearances off the bench last year and played just 4.5 minutes per game. His development was slowed by a pair of shoulder (right) injuries, with the second instance resulting in surgery in May of 2012. He was originally injured in early December of 2011.
Golden Eagles Sharing Minutes Early In 2012-13
Head coach Buzz Williams has made the most of his options through the team's first six games. A total of 10 players are averaging at least 10 minutes per game and the team leader, Vander Blue, checks in at just 28.4 minutes per contest. As a result of the shared playing time, Marquette currently features seven competitors contributing at least 5.3 points per night.