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Marquette geared up to host Central Michigan in Milwaukee

Sportsnaut
Mar 17, 2022; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper (12) shoots the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second half during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette’s second game of the season against visiting Central Michigan on Thursday night in Milwaukee will certainly have a more intimate feeling than a usual Golden Eagles home contest.

The nonconference matchup will be played at Marquette’s 3,700-seat Al McGuire Center on campus instead of the regular home court at the Fiserv Forum, also the home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks with a basketball capacity of 17,385.

Marquette (1-0) defeated visiting Radford 79-69 in the nonconference season opener for each team on Monday. Central Michigan, which defeated Division II Northwood 88-61 in an exhibition game last Thursday, will be playing its first regular-season game.

Marquette, picked ninth in the Big East preseason poll, never trailed against Radford, but had difficulty putting away the Highlanders. A 16-0 run in the second half put the Golden Eagles up 69-50 with 8 1/2 minutes left, but Radford rallied within 75-69 down the stretch.

Junior forward Oso Ighodaro led the Golden Eagles with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 13 points as Marquette finished with a 42-20 advantage on points in the paint.

“When we were at our best, we were really, really good and connected on the defensive end,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “There was a couple times where we put ourself in position where we could have really broken the game open and made a really big margin, but we didn’t make the next few plays after that.”

Central Michigan was picked 10th in the preseason poll in the 12-team Mid-American Conference after finishing 7-23 last season.

The Chippewas are led by sophomore point guard Kevin Miller, who averaged team-bests 13.1 points and 4.6 assists per game last season and was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team.

Senior guard Brian Taylor averaged 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds last season. Junior transfer Jesse Zarzuela led Coppin State in scoring (14.7 ppg). New faces also include freshman guard Max Majerle, son of former Central Michigan and NBA standout Dan Majerle.

Central Michigan had four players in double figures in its exhibition win. Freshman Reggie Bass led with 19 points and Zarzuela added 17. Markus Harding, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center, posted 15 points and 11 rebounds while Miller finished with 15 points, 10 assists, and five steals.

“I was happy with the outcome and how we looked on the floor,” Central Michigan coach Tony Barbee said. “We looked like a team and we played together. Defensively, we got a little sloppy in spots and tried to gamble for steals and that got us out of position, but overall, I was pleased with the effort.”

Marquette last played Central Michigan in 2008, winning 81-67 at home.

–Field Level Media