Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 12/3/11
MADISON, Wis. There were a lot of ways Saturday could have been a bad day for Marquette.First and foremost, the Golden Eagles were playing the No. 9 Badgers, owners of the nation's No. 9 ranking and hungry after a disappointing loss at North Carolina. The game was set for the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin had won 23 straight games and hasn't lost a non-conference game since 2008.They would also have to play the game without Junior Cadougan, the team's fourth-leading scorer, who was held out of the game for violating team rules. But if anything is to be learned about this particular Marquette team, from this particular game, itis that the Golden Eagles will not be out-worked."When you've got stuff going bad you've got to find a will to win," said Marquette guard Darius Johnson-Odom.The Golden Eagles fought foul trouble, injuries and and a hostile environment and even still, managed to walk away with a 61-54 victory; snapping a two-game losing streak to their most frequent rival and Marquette's first victory in Madison since 2007."To win in that kind of environment against a hall of fame coach and with the winning percentage that they have here at the Kohl Center," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "It's not one guy, two guys or the head coach, it's the totality of everyone involved in the program. It took all of us."Marquette wasn't able to play its game. The Golden Eagles didn't get to run as much as they usually do, which led to a dismal 38 percent shooting performance and just two three-pointers in 11 attempts. Numbers like that aren't uncommon for Wisconsin opponents.What was out of the ordinary, though, was Marquette's ability to beat the Badgers at their own game. It was Marquette that clamped down on defense, disrupting the Badgers' rhythm and holding Wisconsin to 32 percent shooting from the field, 5-of-19 on three-point attempts and forcing Wisconsin into 12 turnovers."It was a battle of wills when it came to tempo," Williams said. "We would have liked to play faster than we were able to play today. At times, the game kind of bended toward Wisconsin's pace, then bended back to our pace.More than anything, though, was Marquette's absolute domination on the boards. The Golden Eagles out-rebounded Wisconsin, 44-32 and held Wisconsin to just nine offensive rebounds."When you get stops and don't give up second-chance points or rebounds, you can control the game," Johnson-Odom said. "The ball is in your hands and you just have to play smart. Williams was impressed with his own team's ability to wipe the offensive glass. A year after Wisconsin held Marquette to just nine offensive boards in a 69-64 victory at the Bradley Center, the Golden Eagles pulled down 17 Saturday, leading to 17 points."It's critical," Williams said. "It's so hard to score on them on your first opportunity because they're so big and fundamentally sound defensively. We missed some of those that could have came back and bit us."Heading into the game, Marquette's players looked at this game as their first true test of the season. With the start of Big East Conference play just weeks away, Williams looked at Saturday night along similar lines.And while he sees plenty of work to be done, the results against the Badgers were pretty good.Were for sure going to play 22 or 23 more games just like this and half of them are going to be on the road, Williams said. The best way to grow up is for someone to hit you in the mouth and see if you can respond.Thats what happens at the Kohl Center; they hit you in the mouth and then see how youre going to handle it.
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