In a recently renewed 104-year rivalry, Marquette opened up a huge first half lead on Notre Dame that carried the Golden Eagles to their eighth victory.
The historic 104-year rivalry with Notre Dame had been the talk of the town the past few days as the Golden Eagles vs Fighting Irish sold out early. The matchup is iconic due to the fact that these are both private schools and were both independent when they first started, consistently finding each other on the schedule. After spending 18 years together in the Big East, Notre Dame departed for the ACC in 2013, and this was only the second time they’ve met since.
Both teams were looking to make a statement with this game, with Marquette aiming to catch up in the head-to-head score against Notre Dame (38-81), and the Fighting Irish needing a win to pass .500. The rivalry pendulum would fully swing Marquette’s way in this one from the jump, as the Golden Eagles downed the Irish 78-59.
The Fighting Irish won the tipoff but got nothing as Marquette forced a shot clock violation on the opening possession. A recurring theme, Marquette kept up the pressure with six stops in a row, including another shot clock violation, giving Shaka’s squad one of their signature ‘skunks’ (6 stops in a row) within the first 5 minutes of play. The Golden Eagles would run out to a 17-0 lead, not allowing a Notre Dame score until well over 6 minutes in.
The half-court trap that we’ve grown used to seeing from Marquette came into action once again, producing urgency and turnovers from Notre Dame’s pestered guards. When they pushed the ball back their way, Marquette leaned on big-man Oso Ighodaro to dominate the paint, finding success early and often on his way to a game-high 20 points. A point of contention, Oso was perfect at the line, knocking down all 8 attempts as the Golden Eagles sprinted out to a 52-24 halftime lead.
The stats spoke for themselves halfway through the game, with Marquette nearly doubling Notre Dame’s shooting percentage, assists and forced turnovers. The lead that was built in the first half would carry over to a much more competitive second half, getting valuable minutes from freshmen Tre Norman and Zaide Lowery. Notre Dame’s shot selection improved around the Marquette zone, and freshman Markus Burton found his way to 20 points as the Fighting Irish aimed for a more respectable final score.
Some games, you can feel the outcome from the get-go, and this was definitely one of those games. Marquette was poised to play their game early and often, and in typical Golden Eagles fashion, held the Irish to 36% shooting and forced 19 turnovers. After two down games, Oso Ighodaro was the hero of the night, dominating the paint and shooting perfect from the free throw line.
It would take 42 more of these victories in a row for Marquette to even the long-running series with Notre Dame, but for now, the Golden Eagles have the upper hand. Marquette gets back on the court on Thursday when they host D-III St. Thomas-Minnesota at Fiserv Forum.