For the third time in the team’s last seven contests, all five of Marquette’s starters finished in double figures. However, a 55-point second half from East Chicago Central overshadowed another balanced offensive onslaught as the Cardinals collected an 86-74 victory over the Blazers Monday night at the John A. Baratto Athletic Center in East Chicago.
Sophomores Lukas Balling and Jason Kobe combined for 12 in the opening quarter as Marquette raced out to a 19-16 lead after eight minutes.
The Blazers spent much of the second stanza in the bonus as East Chicago racked up 10 first-half fouls. Marquette went 11-for-14 from the charity stripe before halftime, including a 7-for-10 performance in the second quarter. Balling had 10 points by the break as the Blazers maintained a 36-33 advantage. Juniors Kaden Manna and Brit Harris got going in the second quarter with five points apiece.
Sophomore Gary Lewis posted 12 of his 17 points in the second half, with the majority of the damage coming from the foul line. Lewis knocked down five of his six free-throw tries in the third quarter while Harris added three baskets inside the arc. The Cardinal offense came alive, though, erupting for 27 points to take a 60-58 lead to the fourth.
Harris and Kobe dialed it up from deep across the closing eight minutes, but Marquette was unable to avoid foul trouble late. The Cardinals were successful on 14 of their 22 free throws in the fourth quarter as they held on for an 86-74 win.
Harris and Lewis both ended the night with 17 points. Balling registered 14 while Kobe and Manna chipped in 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Marquette (12-6) returns to Lake County Thursday evening to face Diocesan-foe Bishop Noll at 7 pm.