for this game

Marquette runs past Western Carolina

Dec 20, 2008 - 6:34 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Marquette took care of business in a fast-and-furious fashion on Friday, crushing Western Carolina, 94-77.

The 23rd-ranked Golden Eagles soared to an 11-1 lead after 4 1/2 minutes and were never threatened by the Catamounts.

Lazar Hayward hit 7-of-10 from the floor in the first half en route to 19 points as Marquette (9-2) enjoyed a 53-27 advantage at the break.

The Golden Eagles were on fire, connecting on 61 percent of their shots from the floor (17-of-28) compared to 35 percent (8-of-23) for the Catamounts (5-4).

"(Lazar) is a hard guy to guard, and it becomes harder when our three guards are playing really well," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said.

"We have tried to get him more touches on different spots on the floor and I think that he is getting into a rhythm of where those touches are going to come from, no matter who it is, Wes maybe (Jerel) getting touches in the paint, I think that it adds another dimension to our club when (Lazar) plays well."

Hayward said he is being more aggressive.

"I don't want to jinx it but it's just me attacking and playing the right way and my teammates getting me the ball in the right place at the right time," he said. "I think Dominic (James) is doing a great job on our team getting guys the ball when they are open. It's just them showing their confidence in me.

"I think it's just being aggressive at all times. That's the biggest difference for me."

Marquette coasted in the second half and the Catamounts made a late run in extended garbage to make final closer than the game actually was. The victory was Marquette's 20th straight against a non-conference opponent at the Bradley Center.

Hayward finished with a career-high 27 points. Jerel McNeal added 19 and Wesley Matthews 18 as Marquette bounced back from an 80-68 loss to Tennessee.

"I think that guys, when they know that we are going to win the game, I think we just have to get better at playing the way that we want to play," the junior forward said. "That's doing all the right things no matter what the score is.

"I think as a mature team we have to learn to get over that hump. We still are learning. We just have to help each other out - starters, bench players, no matter who we have to communicate better."

Marquette hit 11-of-16 from beyond the arc with McNeal going 5-of-6 to lead the way. Western Carolina hit 13 treys, including 9-of-15 in the second half.

The Golden Eagles' next game is at North Carolina State on Monday.

Sophomore forward Joe Fulce made his debut and scored two points and grabbed four rebounds. Freshman Chris Otule made his collegiate debut, playing 11 minutes and scoring three points and grabbing a rebound.

"They are not ready to play," Williams said. "They haven't earned the right to play, but from a logistical standpoint, as it relates to the timing of our games over the next two weeks, I think it is important to figure out how Joe can play five minutes a game in January and how Chris can play six or seven minutes a game in January and whether or not they can get to that point in time and be effective on both ends."

"Chris should have fouled out of the game, he pretty much fouled every possession. Joe does have a knack for rebounding the ball, which benefits our team, and Chris gives us a post presence."

Western Carolina was led by Brigham Waginger with 15 points. Brandon Giles scored 14 and Harouna Mutombo chipped in with 12.