ESCANABA - Around the rim, in and out, airballs and off-target. To say it wasn't Escanaba's night offensively would be an understatement.
The Marquette Redmen took advantage of major scoring droughts by the Eskymos in a Great Northern Conference prep matchup Friday night, and their persistence paid off with a 47-33 victory to improve to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the GNC.
A choppy first quarter ending in an 11-11 tie was brilliant compared to how the rest of the game went for the Eskymos.
They scored just five points in the second quarter and seven in the third as they shot a horrific 22 percent (8 for 36) on the night.
"I was real happy with our energy level and defensive intensity. We wanted to match their toughness and physicality and we did that," Escanaba head coach Tracy Hudson said.
"The one thing we didn't do well was score. They took some things away from us and it was hard for us to get into our full-court press when we weren't scoring."
The Redmen deserved credit for Escanaba's rough night with their suffocating zone defense. Guards Andrew Nyquist and Bradley Brow excelled in rebounding and generating takeaways, including multiple times on the inbounds pass.
Marquette also benefitted hugely from getting second and third chances at the net while limiting the Eskymos' offense.
"Their length at their one, two and three spots really bothered our shooters," Hudson said. "Nyquist, Brow, Burnette and Brazeau, they're all long and quick and they always have that long arm on you."
Despite the Eskymos' troubles, it was by no means easy for Marquette. Two key players got into early foul trouble and sat for long stretches in the first half.
"We had Larry Burnette and Kurt Burmeister sitting for basically the last 10-12 minutes of the first half, so we had to adapt on the fly and that's something we prepared for in practice in case the situation happens," MSHS head coach Brad Nelson said.
Burnette and Nyquist had 11 points apiece for the Redmen. Nyquist added eight rebounds and three assists and Brow seven rebounds. Burnette had five offensive boards.
The Redmen also struggled at the free throw line, making just 13 of 29.
Escanaba's leading scorer, 6-foot-5 center Brandon Robinette, averaging 21.7 points per game, had just eight on Friday.
"That was the goal coming in, disrupt what they want to do," Nelson said.