Well that was more difficult than it could have been. When Sandy Cohen III scored 17 points in the game's opening eight minutes to give the Marquette Golden Eagles a 26-5 lead, the game felt like a repeat of the recent victories over Grambling State and Maine. However, the San Jose State Spartans proved pesky opposition, and made things difficult on the Golden Eagles before they eventually prevailed by a margin of 80-62.
Golden Eagles soaring early
Much like they did against Grambling and Maine, Marquette began the game on a run where it felt as if they could not miss a shot. Cohen was knocking down every shot he took, Traci Carter was running the point to perfection, the Golden Eagles were moving the ball and creating open looks. As the crowd were still taking their seats, they raced out to an advantage.
Cohen opened the scoring with his first shot of the game, and had eight of Marquette's first 10 points. They continued scoring at a breakneck pace, and at the 12:42 mark in the first half he hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to stretch the lead to 26-5.
Marquette slows down
The Golden Eagles brought their A game for the opening fifth of the game, but after that point their execution slacked off. Although their lead peaked with the score at 31-7, the remainder of the first half was characterized by turnovers, sloppy passes, poor shot selection, and a porous defense.
San Jose State switched from a man-to-man defense to a fluctuating zone. They alternated between a 2-3 and a 3-2 look, and caused Marquette all sorts of problems. The Spartans closed the half on a 24-9 run, getting themselves back into the game.
San Jose State keeps the score close
Twice after the second half began, the Spartans got within two scores. That seemed to shock Marquette back into action, and their level of execution rose. Yet, they continued to be selfish with the ball, and Henry Ellenson and Duane Wilson in particular were guilty of taking some poor shots.
The second half ebbed and flowed as Marquette grew and regrew their lead before San Jose State would close to within eight or 10 points again. The Spartans never really threatened to tie the game up again, but did enough to keep things close until late on.
Marquette finally pulls away
With just under eight minutes left and their lead cut down to 62-53, the Golden Eagles finally managed to put the game away with an 8-0 run which was keyed by a three from Carter and some clutch shooting from Henry Ellenson.
The final few minutes petered out with Marquette holding a commanding lead. The clock finally hit triple zeroes, giving the Golden Eagles an 80-62 victory.
What comes next?
With the victory, the Marquette Golden Eagles improve to 7-2 and will turn their focus to Saturday's trip down I-94 to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. Meanwhile, the San Jose State Spartans fall to 4-5, and will have to try and regroup before battling Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.