Golden Eagles set to collide with Bulls
Milwaukee, WI – The 17th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles are back at it tonight as they host the South Florida Bulls for a Big East Conference battle at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
This will be the 20th meeting in the all-time series, and the Golden Eagles hold a 16-3 edge after winning the last two encounters.
Head coach Stan Heath saw his Bulls improve to 12-8 overall after they defeated the DePaul Blue Demons in a 75-59 final on Sunday for their third win in a row. With the win, USF is in a four-way tie for third place in the Big East as three other schools, one of which is Marquette, have an identical 5-2 mark in league play. The Bulls used their size and athleticism against DePaul as they won the rebounding battle (40-29) for the sixth straight game and scored a season-high 44 points in the paint. USF slows the game down, which has led to the worst scoring offense in the Big East (61.9 ppg), and simultaneously, the league's best scoring defense (57.7 papg).
After connecting on 14-of-24 field goal attempts to average 17.5 ppg in his last two games, Jawanza Poland is the leading scorer for USF. Poland has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, and his precision shooting complements the Bulls' slow-paced style very well. Augustus Gilchrist is has been vital to USF's success this season, as he is posting 11.1 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Gilchrist went 7-of-8 from the floor to score a season-high 22 points his last time out. Victor Rudd, Ron Anderson Jr. and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick are scoring and rebounding contributors as well.
Head coach Buzz Williams has led his Marquette team to a 16-4 overall record, as it improved to 5-2 in Big East action after a 79-72 victory over Providence on Saturday. The Golden Eagles shot a school-record 81.8 percent from three- point range against the Friars on their way to their fifth straight victory. Tonight's game could be a milestone evening for Williams, as the win over the Friars put him at 99 career victories. The Golden Eagles have one of the best offenses in the Big East, as they are ranked second in scoring offense with an average of 76.8 ppg on 46.4 percent shooting from the field.
Marquette's senior forward Jae Crowder finished with 18 points and six rebounds his last time out, and he is one of the most versatile players in the nation. Crowder is only player in the Big East ranked in the top-15 in seven different statistical categories. Darius Johnson-Odom leads the squad and ranks third in the conference in scoring with 18.2 ppg. Odom has scored 18 or more points in his last seven outings and has knocked down 21 three-pointers during that span. Jamil Wilson had a breakout performance against Providence as he set new career-highs in points (16) and rebounds (seven).