Bears try to clip wings of 11th-ranked Golden Eagles

The 11th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles put conference action.

The Golden Eagles entered the weekend as one of just nine unbeatens left in the nation. Three of those squads are from the Big East, as Marquette is joined by Syracuse and Louisville. Marquette's marquee victory came at nationally-ranked Wisconsin on December 6th. The team was last in action last Saturday, topping instate rival Green Bay, 79-61.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.

Inconsistent play has plagued the Bears thus far. The team is averaging a modest 72.9 ppg, while giving up exactly the same amount of points. Northern Colorado does own a +5.0 rebounding margin, but is turning the ball over nearly 17 times per game. Paul Garnica leads UNC in scoring at 14.4 ppg and is the resident sniper, shooting .523 from behind the arc. Tate Unruh provides perimeter support with 11.6 ppg and is also proficient from long range at 42.9 percent accuracy. Unruh and Garnica combined for 37 points, but the Bears fell victim to Denver's strong shooting in the second half and fell to the Pioneers by six points. Unruh netted a career-high 19 points, while Garnica poured in 18. UNC shot a decent 9-of-21 from behind the arc, but was outscored at the free-throw line 18-8 and turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 25 points for Denver.

It is not by accident that Marquette sits undefeated on the season. The team has really excelled at both ends of the court and is enjoying an impressive +22.0 scoring margin as a result. The Golden Eagles are shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and putting up 83.0 ppg, while holding foes to just 61.0 ppg and well under 40 percent shooting (.373). Marquette has a potent one-two punch in the form of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. Johnson-Odom leads the team in scoring at 18.8 ppg. Crowder is a close second at 17.4 ppg and is shooting a sizzling .567 from the floor. Five Golden Eagles finished in double figures in the win over Green Bay. Crowder led the way with 21 points. Davante Gardner and Vander Blue added 14 points each, while Johnson-Odom and Todd Mayo chipped in with 10 apiece.