MILWAUKEE (AP)After rolling through their first five games with relative ease, the Mississippi State Bulldogs got their first real test Monday night at Marquette.
And while the Golden Eagles put up quite the fight, it wasn’t enough against the No. 10 Bulldogs, who pulled away down the stretch for a 74-68 victory.
Graduate transfer Jordan Danberry led the way with 20 points, with eight of those coming from the free throw line where the Bulldogs converted 20 of 23 attempts – production that helped make up for an otherwise frustrating night on offense.
Mississippi State came into the game leading the nation with 102.2 points on 52% percent shooting through its first six games. The Bulldogs were held to a 38.5% Monday night while making just 4 of 16 3-pointers.
Still, the Bulldogs have made their living inside the paint this season and Monday was no different. They outscored Marquette inside, 34-16, and also converted 29 Golden Eagles turnovers into 32 points.
”We’re getting the hang of our offense and what we’re trying to do,” Danberry said. ”Our focus is on rebounding, getting on defense and getting paint points.”
The Bulldogs (6-0) led by just one at halftime but seemed to take control of the contest late in the third with a 12-0 run that put them ahead, 52-47 with 2:17 left in the quarter.
Marquette, though, stormed right back and after getting a jumper from Jordan King and a 3-pointer from Isabelle Spingola. The Golden Eagles trailed 54-52 heading into the fourth.
The Golden Eagles pulled ahead by five with 5:14 to play before Mississippi State recovered and went on a 9-0 run to take a 65-61 lead with 2:27 to play.
”We’re really young, really inexperienced and really immature,’ Schaefer said. ”We tried to give (the game) away four or first straight times there with turnovers but then we’d get a stop and we found a way. That’s what you have to do if you’re going to win on the road.”
Spingola scored 18 points while King and Selena Lott had 16 each for Marquette (4-2), which hit 50% from the field. The Golden Eagles also made 10 of 20 from behind the 3-point line.
”Obviously a disappointing ending,” Marquette coach Megan Duffy said. ”But I’m proud of our team and the way we hung in there. We had a chance to win it at the end but we struggled to get the ball up the court.”
ROAD STREAK CONTINUES
The Bulldogs have now won 11 consecutive road games dating back to last season, giving them the longest road winning streak in the country. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Mississippi State is 24-1 away from home with five victories over ranked teams during that stretch including four over top 15 opponents.
The victory marked the 200th for Schaefer at Mississippi State. He accomplished the feat in 256 games, making him the second-fastest to 200 wins in SEC history. … The Golden Eagles fell to 0-2 against Mississippi State all-time and have dropped five of their last six games against teams in the Top 25 dating back to the start of last season. … Marquette has held five of its first six opponents to below 38 percent shooting this season.
Mississippi State: After handling their first five opponents with relative ease, the Bulldogs faced their biggest test of the season against Marquette. They continued to dominate in the paint and cash in on opponent’s turnovers but will need to shore up their shooting and defense as they get closer to their conference slate.
Marquette: After winning the Big East title last season, Marquette is still establishing an identity under first-year head coach Megan Duffy. Almost knocking off the No. 10 team in the county sure can help accelerate that process – though a victory would look much better on the resume come March.
Mississippi State heads north of the border for a Thanksgiving matinee against San Francisco at the Greater Victoria Invitational. The Bulldogs will also face either Bowling Green or Wisconsin-Green Bay in the second round of the three-day event.
Marquette will travel west for the Thanksgiving holiday and participate in the St. Mary’s Tournament with a pair of games against the host Gaels and Tulsa on Nov. 29 and 30.
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