MILWAUKEE — Jeffery Taylor scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half to help Vanderbilt steamroll No. 14 Marquette 74-57 on Thursday night.
John Jenkins added 14 points, and Lance Goulbourne had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Commodores (9-4), who beat a ranked team for the first time this season.
Jae Crowder scored 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Golden Eagles (11-2), who shot a season-low 32.2 percent from the field.
|TOP 25 SCORES|
|No. 5 North Carolina 100, Elon 62|
|Rutgers 85, No. 10 Florida 83|
|No. 18 Michigan 71, Penn State 53|
|No. 19 Kansas 89, Howard 34|
|No. 24 Harvard 67, Boston College 46|
Vanderbilt, considered a top-10 team at the beginning of the season, came in unranked after a Dec. 17 loss to Indiana State. The Commodores were 0-2 against ranked teams this season.
But the Commodores looked worthy of their preseason ranking, smothering the Golden Eagles on defense and doing just about anything they wanted on the other end.
Marquette big man Davante Gardner got in foul trouble early and Vanderbilt made the most of it.
The Golden Eagles seemed a step slow on both ends of the floor, particularly on one defensive play early in the second half.
With Vanderbilt inbounding the ball from the baseline, Marquette somehow left Jenkins – Vanderbilt’s leading scorer and best 3-point shooter – wide open from long range. He nailed it to give the Commodores a commanding 55-32 lead with 14:49 left in the game.
Things went poorly from the start for the Golden Eagles, who shot 1-16 from the field to start the game.
Marquette tried to get the ball to Crowder down low early on, but it wasn’t working with several Vanderbilt defenders collapsing on him every time he touched the ball. Crowder started the game 0 for 7.
Vanderbilt welcomed back center Festus Ezeli, who had played in only two games this season while recovering from a right knee sprain. Ezeli entered the game with 16:46 left in the first half, wearing a bulky brace on his knee.
Vanderbilt took a 29-6 lead when Ezeli missed a free throw, a long rebound came out to Kedren Johnson and he fed the ball to Jenkins, who drilled a 3-pointer.
But the party was just getting started for the Commodores, as Taylor stole the ball from Junior Cadougan and coasted to the other end for an emphatic slam dunk that put Vanderbilt up 31-6 with 8:44 left in the first half.
Brace and all, Ezeli showed he still could leap, slamming home an alley-oop pass from Jenkins for a 35-8 lead with 7:15 left.
Marquette then went on a short 8-2 run, but missed an opportunity to really cut into Vanderbilt’s lead. The Golden Eagles came up with stops on four consecutive Commodore possessions, but came away with only a pair of free throws by Crowder.