MILWAUKEE – Darius Johnson-Odom scored 17 points to help No. 17 Marquette beat South Florida 67-47 on Tuesday night.
Davante Gardner and Jae Crowder added 15 points each for the Golden Eagles (17-4, 6-2 Big East), who have recovered from their rough start in conference play by winning five straight games.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls (12-9, 5-3), who had a setback in what has otherwise been a hot start in the Big East. South Florida had won three straight coming into Tuesday's game, including a victory at DePaul on Sunday.
It was the 100th career victory for Marquette coach Buzz Williams.
Marquette went on a 7-0 run at the end of the first half to take a 33-21 lead.
The Golden Eagles put together another surge coming out of halftime, and Johnson-Odom's 3-pointer gave Marquette a 39-22 lead with 18:49 left in the game.
Crowder hit a 3 at the 15:13 mark, South Florida threw the ball out of bounds on their next possession and Johnson-Odom scored on a driving layup, giving the Golden Eagles a 20-point lead.
South Florida came into Tuesday's game as one of the Big East's better defensive teams, allowing a league-low 57.9 points per game in conference play. But the Bulls didn't have the offensive fireworks needed to mount a comeback.
It was Marquette's defense that stood out Tuesday night, as the Golden Eagles forced 22 turnovers while committing only five. Marquette outscored South Florida 20-3 off turnovers.
The 6-foot-8, 290-pound Gardner continued his impressive offensive play for a Marquette team that isn't used to outmuscling opponents inside — especially in the Big East.
The Golden Eagles made a point to get Gardner involved right away, getting the ball to him on virtually every possession early. Gardner scored the Golden Eagles' first six points.
Marquette's a 7-0 run to close the half started with a 3-pointer by Jamil Wilson and two free throws by Todd Mayo.
The Golden Eagles then got one final fastbreak opportunity at the end of the half, and Johnson-Odom missed a fastbreak layup — but Wilson went high in the air to slam it home with both hands, giving Marquette a 33-21 lead.
Marquette had a pronounced advantage at the free throw line in the first half, hitting 7 of 11 while South Florida shot two and hit one.