GAME NOTES: Returning home for the first time in two weeks, the Marquette Golden Eagles are set to host the Jacksonville Dolphins in non-conference action at the Bradley Center.
Jacksonville is coming off its worst loss under head coach Cliff Warren, stumbling to a 107-62 setback against ninth-ranked Florida on Friday night. The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for the Dolphins, and dropped their overall 2011-12 ledger to 2-3.
The Golden Eagles have had things a bit easier on the young season, and the squad comes into tonight's affair with an unblemished 5-0 overall mark. The squad most recently claimed its first tournament of any kind since the CBE Classic in 2006 with a hard-earned 59-57 win over Norfolk State in the 2011 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Championship back on November 21.
Marquette holds a 1-0 edge in the short all-time history between the two programs.
Friday's 45-point loss was one the Dolphins would prefer to move past as quickly as possible, as they allowed the Gators to shoot at a 55.2 percent clip and bury 11-of-25 from long range. The Dolphins shot a respectable 48.4 percent from the floor themselves during the contest, but hit only 5-of-15 from behind the arc and 9-of-17 at the foul line while committing 16 turnovers. The Dolphins were also outrebounded by a 46-35 margin in the loss, and were outmatched in the paint to the tune of 42-32. Russell Powell scored 15 points to pace JU in the setback, while Keith McDougald tallied 12 points. The Dolphins average just 66.8 ppg so far this season, and have allowed the opposition to notch a healthy 74.2 ppg, but the club does boast five players with a double-digit scoring average while shooting at a solid 45.8 percent clip as a team. Aloys Cabell leads the way with 12.0 ppg, followed by Powell and his 11.6 ppg. McDougald has been responsible for 11.0 ppg, while Delwan Graham has contributed 10.6 points to go with a team-high 7.6 rebounds per outing. Finally, Glenn Powell has been a consistent scoring presence as well for the Dolphins with 10.0 ppg.
The Golden Eagles have looked more like a team in mid-season form at the offensive end of the court than one only five games into a new campaign, as Marquette currently ranks first or second in five offensive categories amongst its Big East counterparts. The 59-57 win over Norfolk State marked the first time that the team failed to score at least 90 points this season, a four-game stretch that was a first in MU history. Darius Johnson-Odom posted a game-high 20 points to lead the Golden Eagles in the contest, while Jae Crowder finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Golden Eagles held Norfolk State to just 33.9 percent from the field, and won the battle on the boards by a 44-35 margin. Johnson-Odom, with 20.0 points per contest, currently leads the Golden Eagles in scoring, and he is joined in double figures by Crowder and his 17.8 ppg. Crowder also owns a team-best 8.0 rpg, while Davante Gardner rounds out the trio with a 12.2 ppg average.
Marquette must be amped to be back in front of its home crowd after a long sabbatical, and the extra energy should translate into a busy night for the scoreboard operator. Jacksonville is simply outmatched here, and may find itself suffering back-to-back embarrassments against nationally-ranked programs.