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Fast start propels Marquette to rout of Sacramento St.

Dec 16, 2007 - 1:13 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Wesley Matthews and Marquette took little time in putting away Sacramento State.

The junior guard helped the Golden Eagles jump out to an early lead as they never looked back in routing the Hornets, 82-51, on Saturday in the opener of a five-game homestand.

It was just the third game Marquette (7-1) has played since a loss to Duke in the final of the Maui Invitational on November 21. Along with a 100-65 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on November 30, the Golden Eagles won at Wisconsin, 81-76, on November 30.

Despite the layoff, Marquette opened the game with a 14-0 run, keyed by four points from Matthews and 3-pointers by forward Lazar Hayward and guard Dominic James.

"They've had a long week, it's been like football, we've had three straight weeks, three games, that's a tough deal," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "To come out and play with that kind of intensity ... I'm proud of them."

The Hornets (2-8) finally got on the board at the 14:50 mark on a 3-pointer by guard Vinnie McGhee Jr., and pulled within 14-6 on a layup and free throw by forward Randy Adams.

But the Golden Eagles took charge from there, outscoring the Hornets, 24-6, over the next 10 minutes en route to opening a commanding 46-22 lead at the half.

"Two years ago we might not have came out like that - last year, I'm not sure, it was a tossup," Matthews said. "This year, we're older, we're wiser and we're just ready to play."

Sacramento State closed within 57-42 midway through the second half, but Marquette countered by scoring the next six points and its lead did not dip below 20 points the rest of the way.

"I thought the second half was really long," Hornets coach Jerome Jenkins said. "It felt like we were down by 40, but when we looked up at the scoreboard, it's not so much that we were in the game, but that we had some things to fight for."

Jerel McNeal paced five Marquette players in double figures with 13 points. Matthews, Hayward and forward Ousmane Barro each added 12 points, while guard Maurice Acker chipped in with 10.

The Golden Eagles shot 51 percent (28-of-54) from the field, and held the Hornets to just 39 percent shooting (21-of-53).

"We knew we were playing a big monster," Jenkins said. "That was the best physical talent we went up against all year. We had to work for everything."

Sacramento State, which lost to its second ranked opponent in four days, was led by McGhee, who scored a game-high 15 points.

The Hornets were routed 93-66 at No. 16 Oregon on Tuesday and are now 0-4 on the road. They have not beaten a Division I school this season.

Sacramento State leading scorer Loren Leath, who entered the contest averaging 18.9 points, was held to just two points.

    --- --- -----
    SACRAMENTO ST 22 29 51
    MARQUETTE (13) 46 36 82 FINAL

    Dec 15 4:14 PM


    Dec 15 2:55 PM