It had been ten days since Marquette last played a basketball game, and that was an embarrassing blowout loss against rival Wisconsin. The Golden Eagles had a lot of time since to think about that performance, and it was Arizona State that they took their frustrations out on Tuesday night, taking down the Sun Devils 78-71.
Marquette played inspired defense out of the gate, forcing six Sun Devil turnovers in the first four minutes. The shots were not falling for either team initially, but eventually the pace slowed down and both teams were able to run their offense (or some semblance of an offense).
With fall semesters ending all across the country, this week marks the first time some of the nation's transfers are eligible to play their first games with their new teams. That was true for two players tonight; Marquette's Luke Fischer and Arizona State's Savon Goodman. Both struggled out of the gate.
Fischer checked into the game two and a half minutes in and couldn't handle the first pass meant to him, going off his hands and out of bounds. Goodman came in a couple minutes later and a forgotten defensive assignment led to an easy layup for the home team.
After falling behind 12-6, a technical foul on Golden Eagle head coach Steve Wojciechowski sparked a five point possession for the Sun Devils, with both free throws and then a three-pointer being made by Gerry Blakes. That made the score 12-11, and that was the closest the maroon and gold would get the rest of the night.
An 18-5 binge for Marquette towards the end of the first half gave it a 15 point lead and enough separation to relax heading into the locker rooms. Senior small forward Jonathan Gilling did make his first field goal of the night with 30 seconds remaining, a deep three ball to pull Arizona State within 11 at 43-32 to end a frustrating half.
Any thoughts of a comeback were put to bed early on in the second half as the newcomer Fischer settled into a groove. Being his first game with a new team, scouting opportunities had to be few on the sophomore center. It showed. He finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds, including a pair of huge jumpers which pushed the Golden Eagle lead to 16 and 18 points with under five minutes to play.
Sendek should be credited with doing a great job of extending the game in the final couple of minutes, using some different full-court traps to create turnovers and get the shooters they wanted at the line. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. A Blakes steal and three with ten seconds left cut the deficit to single digits. A Roosevelt Scott steal and layup pulled the Sun Devils within seven as the game came to a close with the final 78-71 score not indicative of the way this one played out.
Gerry Blakes finished the game with 20 points while Kodi Justice added 12 points. JaJuan Johnson led the way for Marquette with 22 points. ASU also turned the ball over 16 times on 24 made field goals.
Next up is the start of a three game home stand for ASU, the first of which will be played against Lehigh on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.