MILWAUKEE (AP) - Todd Mayo had to break a sweat to start giving his opponents headaches.
He was hitting from long range and driving to the bucket for hoops. Mayo had all seven of his field goals and 17 points in the second half to lift Marquette to a 69-62 victory Tuesday night over Butler.
“I’m just a trying to come in and get a sweat going first, and then start attacking,” Mayo said.
It took him more than 20 minutes to get going after a scoreless first half. The streaky junior didn’t even register a shot attempt off.
But Mayo led the charge from a 10-point deficit in the second half, and the Golden Eagles (13-10, 5-5 Big East) avoided a regular-season sweep to the Bulldogs (12-10, 2-8).
“When the chips are down, for whatever reason, it seems as though throughout his career you can always count on Mayo,” coach Buzz Williams said.
Mayo riled up the crowd after tipping away a rebound for a steal, then going the length of the court for a three-point play off a layup and a 62-57 lead with 3:02 left.
Marquette held on from there after shutting down the lane against Butler, who got 16 points from Kellen Durham. Freshman forward Andrew Chrabascz drove the paint for most of his 10 points, all in the second half.
But turnovers did in Butler - 20 in all. Mayo had two steals, point guard Derrick Wilson had with five and Marquette’s defense finished with a flourish.
“We turned the ball over 20 times. And any time we do that, our margin for error is too small,” coach Brandon Miller said.
Elijah Brown’s jumper with 13:03 left gave Butler a 43-33 lead before Marquette started chipping away, a task made all the tougher with forward Jamil Wilson (17 points) on the bench with four fouls.
But after a sluggish start, Williams’ club got into a rhythm with his two best shooters, Mayo and Jake Thomas, on the court. They each hit 3s during a key stretch of the second half, and Butler extended its defense.
Williams made the next coaching chess move and his team started driving the lane more and clamping down inside defensively.
Mayo’s coast-to-coast drive followed a pretty up-and-under move for a layup on the previous possession that put Marquette up 59-57 with about 3:30 left, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I think he’s better when he’s comfortable,” Miller said about Mayo. “And I thought that he reached a comfort level in the second half of the game.”
Mayo’s move followed another turnover down low for Butler after Kameron Woods lost the ball while trying to post up Chris Otule. In what turned into a familiar scene, Mayo ended up with the ball in transition for another layup.
It was the first time that sixth-year senior Otule was out of the starting lineup since 2011-12. Otule had been ill of late, and he came off the bench after 57 straight starts.
Otule saved up enough strength to push around Butler late. He was the perfect complement to Mayo on the other end, who rebounded after going scoreless and committing four first-half turnovers in a 15-point loss last week at St. John’s.
“I wish I had a better pulse on it, but I think have a pretty good feel for Todd,” Williams said.
Dunham finished 5 of 14 from the field and 2 of 8 from 3-point range. Khyle Marshall scored 13 points for Butler, which fell in its first visit to the Bradley Center since winning 76-65 on Feb. 2, 1991. The Bulldogs joined the Golden Eagles in the new Big East this season.
It’s been a tough go for Butler in the new league. The small school that’s used to making deep runs in NCAAs will have a hard time making the tournament this year without a stunning February winning streak.
Unlike a cold start to the first half, Butler got points to start the second half by going strong to the hoop. Chrabascz was effective against the Marquette’s more experienced frontcourt, finishing 4 of 6.
Butler began the game going 0 of 9 from the field before finishing 10 of 18 to take a 25-23 lead at halftime.
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