Hayward delivers for Marquette
Hayward had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Marquette avenged an earlier loss to DePaul with an 80-69 victory over the Blue Demons on Wednesday night to extend its winning streak to three.
“We’ve been through some hard-fought battles,” Hayward said. “I don’t like to say I feel like the old guy, but I kind of am, just because I’ve been through some stuff.”
Darius Johnson-Odom added 21 points and Jimmy Butler 18 for the Golden Eagles (14-8, 5-5 Big East), who didn’t trail on Jan. 20 until Mike Stovall’s jumper with seven-tenths of a second to play snapped DePaul’s 24-game conference losing streak.
That loss is still in Marquette’s minds as the Golden Eagles likely will be on the NCAA tournament bubble come selection time. The Golden Eagles have lost their five conference games by a total of 11 points, but the 51-50 loss to DePaul is easily their worst in conference play.
“I know it’s going to hurt us a lot as far as tournament time, but if we just fight through these games, get some wins it (won’t) take away from us,” Johnson-Odom said.
Could that loss keep them out?
“Oh for sure, it’s possible,” Hayward said. “That’s why we made sure we came out tonight and handled our business.”
In the rematch, Marquette never trailed, building a double-digit first-half lead and using a 12-0 run early in the second half to open a big advantage.
DePaul (8-14, 1-9) is still searching for its second win under interim coach Tracy Webster, who fell to 1-7 since replacing Jerry Wainwright.
Mac Koshwal led DePaul with 18 points, but the Blue Demons shot 38 percent from the field. Will Walker, who had been averaging 16.3 points, scored 13 on 5-of-20 shooting.
“We knew we were going to get their best punch,” Walker said.
Webster thinks it’s only a matter of time before DePaul breaks through. He also thinks the Blue Demons are a better team than the one that beat Marquette last month, but DePaul has lost four straight and 37 of the last 40 in Big East play.
“I think our guys are playing with more energy,” Webster said. “We just have to continue to play with a purpose.”
Marquette’s 12-0 run in the second half gave the Golden Eagles a 47-23 lead. In the spurt, Marquette did it inside and out—using an extra pass to find Hayward open for a 3-pointer and then getting a driving basket by Johnson-Odom.
Moments later, Johnson-Odom stepped into the passing lane moments later for a steal and two-handed dunk. Hayward followed with another 3, admiring his follow-through on his basket that just beat the shot clock.
“I think that spurt helped us a lot,” Johnson-Odom said. “I would’ve liked to finish the game a lot better than we did, but I think they’re a scrappy team.”
The closest DePaul could come was within 73-64 with 1:08 remaining, but Marquette finished by hitting 13 of its final 14 free throws to seal it.
The game featured 53 fouls, and Marquette took 44 free-throw attempts, the most since attempting a school-record 50 against Savannah State in 2003. The Golden Eagles made 36 of those shots, four off their all-time mark.
“I think they’re contagious,” Hayward said.
Hayward, who had the biggest double-double of his career since putting up 19 points and 18 rebounds against IPFW last season, took over midway through the first half.
The senior forward scored 12 of Marquette’s final 17 points before the break as the Golden Eagles took a 32-19 halftime lead.
Coupled with wins against Rutgers and at No. 19 Connecticut, Marquette is back to .500 in the Big East, with games at Providence and against South Florida next before a Feb. 18 matchup with No. 22 Pittsburgh.