PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Darius Johnson-Odom tied a career-high with 29 points and sparked a key second-half run to lead Marquette to a 73-65 win over Rutgers Wednesday night.
Jimmy Butler added 16 points and Jae Crowder had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Eagles (11-4, 2-0 Big East), who defeated Rutgers (9-5, 0-2) for the fifth straight time and handed the Scarlet Knights their first loss in eight home games.
Rutgers got 24 points from James Beatty, while Gilvydas Biruta had 12 and Robert Lumpkins 10.
With Marquette holding a 46-42 lead, Rutgers had a chance to draw the closest it had been since 19-16, but missed three straight shots in the same sequence. Johnson-Odom then scored 10 points in a 16-10 run as the Golden Eagles opened a 62-52 advantage.
Rutgers within seven on four different occasions but could never get closer despite Marquette missing six foul shots in the final 2 minutes.
Marquette, which entered the game seventh in the nation in field goal percentage at 50.4, improved on that mark by hitting 51.2 percent (22-for-43). Johnson-Odom shot 9-for-14 from the field and 5-for-8 from long range.
Marquette made 12 of 21 shots (57.1 percent) in the first half to go up 37-30 at the break.
Leading 23-20, the Golden Eagles went on a 12-2 run to open their largest lead of the first half at 35-22. Three-pointers by Lumpkins and Beatty helped pull the Scarlet Knights within seven by the break.
Neither team protected the ball well during the half as Marquette had 12 turnovers and Rutgers 11.