Despite being upset for its first loss of the season, Marquette remained in the Top 25.
The No. 25 Golden Eagles hope to avoid another slip-up when they face Central Michigan on Tuesday night to open a stretch of three straight home games.
Marquette (5-1) dropped 10 spots in the recent poll after falling 89-75 to unranked Dayton in the final game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles’ up-tempo pace didn’t bother the Flyers, who rotated as many as 12 players to stay fresh and ultimately frustrated Marquette, which shot 39.3 percent from the field and 4-for-20 from 3-point range.
Dayton’s bench outscored Marquette’s 48-5.
“It has nothing to do with depth,” first-year Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. “It has to do with keeping the ball out of the paint and allowing a team to shoot (52.6 percent).”
Allowing 71.8 points per game, the Golden Eagles yielded a season high for points and shooting percentage against the Flyers on a neutral court. Now, Marquette meets Central Michigan (2-3) for the first time before facing rival Wisconsin on Saturday.
Guard Wesley Matthews had a season-high 28 points on 7-for-12 shooting against Dayton. The senior is averaging 22.7 points, shooting 51.2 percent and continues to draw praise from Williams for his work ethic.
“Wes is as good of a practice player as I have ever seen in my 15 years,” said Williams of Matthews, who is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. “That is not just offense but he has great juice from start to finish on both ends of the floor, every single day.”
Dominic James scored 19 and Jerel McNeal added 16 against Dayton as the Golden Eagles’ senior-laden three-guard lineup continues to lead a squad averaging 89.0 points per contest.
McNeal is averaging 18.0 points while James is at 11.2 per contest and a team-leading 5.7 assists.
Marquette’s veteran backcourt could be in for another big night as it tries for an 18th consecutive home victory over an unranked non-conference opponent.
Central Michigan enters this contest coming off a 77-67 loss at Illinois-Chicago on Saturday for its third loss in four games.
Robbie Harman scored 17 points, but the Chippewas shot 39.0 percent while allowing the Flames to go 24-for-47 from the field.
Led by senior forward Chris Kellermann, who’s averaging 16.2 points per game, Central Michigan was picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division. Kellermann and guard Jeremy Allen (14.6 ppg) are the top returning scorers from last season’s 14-17 team.
Central Michigan will faced a ranked team for the first time since losing 80-39 to then-No. 16 Purdue on Dec. 13, 2003, seven days after winning 69-68 at then-No. 23 Notre Dame for its most recent victory over a Top 25 team.