Darryl Morsell scored 21 points as host Marquette withstood a stiff challenge from SIU-Edwardsville in an 88-77 victory Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Wis., to make coach Shaka Smart’s debut a winning one.
Morsell shot 7 of 13 in his debut with Marquette after winning Big Ten defensive player of the year in his final season at Maryland.
Justin Lewis added 17 and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. He shot 6 of 14 and scored 14 points after halftime.
Tyler Kolek contributed 10 points and nine assists for the Golden Eagles, who shot 44.1 percent and missed 19 of 26 on 3-point tries.
Ray’Sean Taylor, who missed his freshman season with a torn ACL, led SIU-Edwardsville with 16 points in his collegiate debut. Shaun Doss Jr, who scored 27 for Arkansas-Pine Bluff last season against Marquette, added 13 as the Cougars shot 46.7 percent from the field but also allowed 26 points off 24 turnovers.
Smart compiled a 109-86 record in six seasons with Texas, and his Marquette debut was a struggle for most of the night.
Morsell scored his final points by hitting two free throws with just under 10 minutes left for a 69-58 lead, but Marquette struggled to the finish.
The lead was down to 83-77 on two free throws by Taylor with 1:38 remaining. Following an errant pass by Kolek, Doss had a jumper blocked, Taylor threw the ball out of bounds with 49 seconds left and Marquette iced it by sinking five free throws in the final 42 seconds.
Marquette never trailed after Morsell’s dunk snapped a 44-44 tie a little over a minute into the second half. It was part of a 14-2 run that gave the Golden gave the Golden Eagles a 55-46, capped by a 3-pointer by Kam Jones with 15:28 left.
In the first half, the Cougars held an eight-point edge nearly five minutes in on a jumper by DeeJuan Pruitt, and Marquette used a 9-2 run to take a 32-25 lead on a jumper by Kur Kuath with 6:32 remaining.
SIU-Edwardsville countered with an 8-0 burst for a 33-32 lead on a jumper by Doss with 5:07 remaining, and Marquette held a 39-38 lead at intermission after the Cougars’ Courtney Carter hit a layup at the buzzer.
–Field Level Media
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