MILWAUKEE (AP)—With Lazar Hayward leading the way, Marquette took out its frustrations against Florida Gulf Coast.
Hayward had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the 21st-ranked Golden Eagles to a 67-37 victory Tuesday night.
Hayward, who was 0-for-8 from the field in the Golden Eagles’ 70-68 overtime loss to Georgetown last Saturday, was an entirely different player against Gulf Coast and so were most of his teammates.
“When I don’t play really well, I never hang my head,” Hayward said of his performance against Georgetown. “I just look forward to playing the next game”
Against Gulf Coast, he registered his fourth double-double of the season, finishing 6-of-12 from the field with two steals.
Wesley Matthews scored 12 points and Dominic James added 11 for Marquette (22-7), which came up with its second-best defensive effort in the nine seasons under coach Tom Crean. Marquette held Illinois State to 32 points during the 2004-05 season.
“As disappointed as they were, they were ready to play from the other day,” Crean said. “That’s a great sign with this group.”
Adam Liddell, Casey Wohlleb, Terike Barrowes, Rob Quaintance and Roman Narmbaye all scored six points for Gulf Coast (10-21) in the first meeting between the schools.
The game was basically a tuneup for Marquette, which concludes the regular season at Syracuse on Saturday and then has the Big East tournament where the Golden Eagles will be seeded fifth or sixth in the 12-team field.
Gulf Coast concluded its first season as a Division I member and the first losing season in school history. Marquette was the second ranked and Big East team Gulf Coast played this season. Gulf Coast lost 78-66 to Butler, ranked No. 16 at the time, on Dec. 22, and lost 92-60 to DePaul on Jan. 21.
Maurice Acker’s 3-pointer capped a 16-2 run that gave Marquette a 46-27 lead with 12:05 left. James’ layup with 4:32 to play gave Marquette a 64-32 lead.
Hayward was 5-of-6 from the field and had 15 points as Marquette took a 30-17 halftime lead.
Hayward had three 3-pointers—matching his career best—as the Golden Eagles took a 16-4 lead in the opening 4 minutes.
Gulf Coast got within five points early in the second half, but the Golden Eagles never let them get closer and pulled away to the easy victory.
“Tom does a really good job of making adjustments,” Gulf Coast coach Dave Balza said. “I thought they really pressured our guards and forced them into turnovers.”
Gulf Coast had 25 turnovers while Marquette finished with 17, six in the second half.