In preparation for a showdown with No. 10 Ohio State, the 17th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles will host the Grambling State Tigers in a non-conference tune up at the Bradley Center.
Grambling State is on a tour of sorts of Big East squads as it is coming off a 96-58 loss to DePaul in the season opener in Chicago. The Tigers were no match for the Blue Demons in the contest as they netted just 32.8 percent of their shots from the floor while turning the ball over 23 times. Grambling State has been one of the worst teams in the country over the last few years and is currently riding a 29-game losing streak after going winless last year. Grambling State faces Missouri State next.
In their season opener the Golden Eagles had some trouble with a feisty Southern squad. Though the Golden Eagles managed to claim a 63-56 victory, they nearly let the game slip away by hitting just 3-of-17 field goal attempts after halftime. The home cooking clearly helped as Marquette has now won 26 straight at the Bradley Center after winning all 16 games at the venue last year. The home winning stretch is the second longest active streak in the country. Assuming they can handle Grambling State, their streak will really get put to the test when the Golden Eagles next step on the floor against the 10th-ranked Buckeyes.
Marquette rolled to an 87-41 rout of Grambling State when these teams last met during the 2009-10 season. Jimmy Butler scored a team-high in the win, the third in as many meetings for the Golden Eagles with the Tigers.
Although they were miserable on offense, the Tigers were no better on defense in the season opener. They allowed the Blue Demons to put in 47.2 percent from the floor, including 11-of-21 from beyond the arc, which didn't give them much of a chance to pull off an upset. There was some promise for the Tigers as A'Torri Shine scored 21 points in his first start with the Tigers. Shine transferred to Grambling State this year and clearly is wasting no time in asserting himself as one of the teams best offensive options. That isn't a very difficult thing to do on a roster that doesn't have a ton of scoring threats. Remond Brown scored 11 points as the only other player in double figures against DePaul but he needed 13 shots to do so. Chase Comier scored nine points, but missed all 10 of his field goal attempts, settling for a 9- of-12 showing at the charity stripe.
Free throws and strong defense kept Marquette from suffering an opening game loss against Southern. The Golden Eagles did not shoot a strong percentage from the free throw line but had a 33-6 advantage in points from the charity stripe. Marquette also held Southern to just 35.6 percent shooting in the contest, while forcing 17 turnovers, which turned into 13 points. Marquette made a name for itself as a defensive power last year, when it held teams to just 40.4 percent shooting en route to an Elite Eight appearance. Davante Gardner, last year's Sixth Man of the Year in the Big East, continued his assault from off the bench as he racked up 25 points in just 23 minutes, getting 15-of-20 shots from the charity stripe to fall. Gardner wasn't the only reserve that made noise in the opener, as Todd Mayo poured in 20 points of his own. Meanwhile, the starters for Buzz Williams' squad managed to combine for just 15 points, with Jamil Wilson responsible for 10.