Undefeated Mississippi State will present another power conference test for Marquette on Monday night in the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament in Florida.
Marquette (3-1) bounced back after a road loss at Purdue for an easy 95-58 victory over visiting Long Island University on Thursday. The Golden Eagles opened with wins over Radford and Central Michigan.
Marquette also presents a stiffer challenge for Mississippi State (4-0), which has won its four games by an average of 27 points. The Bulldogs are coming off a 79-42 home victory over South Dakota on Thursday.
Against Purdue, the Golden Eagles let a nine-point, second-half lead slip away over the final 11 minutes. They rolled past Long Island University behind Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who had a career-high 31 points on 11-of-12 shooting.
“I liked the way that our guys approached the game. I like the way they helped each other,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said after the game.
“Obviously we didn’t face a whole lot of adversity, so it’s easier to do that when conditions are not adverse. All we can control is the elements under our control. Our guys tried, they had very good intent tonight. Obviously, the competition level goes back up in our next couple games.”
Prosper leads the Golden Eagles with 15.3 points per game, followed by David Joplin at 15 and Oso Ighodaro at 12.5. In each of its three wins, Marquette has shot at least 45.8 percent, but it shot just 37.5 percent against Purdue.
The Golden Eagles have forced 60 turnovers in their victories, including 23 against Long Island, but got just six against the Boilermakers.
Mississippi State has held opponents to 30.9 percent shooting and has a 13.5 rebound advantage per game.
Tolu Smith leads the Bulldogs with 17.8 points and 8.5 boards per contest, while D.J. Jeffries is adding 11 points per game.
Marquette and Mississippi State have only played once previously, with the Golden Eagles winning 89-62 at the 2012 Maui Classic.
“We’re going to see where we’re at one way or another,” first-year Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said of the Marquette matchup.
“It’s time for us to play a team like (Marquette). No idea what the result is going to be, but we need to be challenged. We’re going to be exposed in some areas of the game. Who knows what it’ll be, but we’re going to find out after Monday and Wednesday with the quality of teams we’re playing where we’re at and what we need to work on. I think our team needs to play that quality of competition. … It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us.”
–Field Level Media