Marquette accomplished enough on both ends of the court in the first eight minutes of Tuesday’s sectional opener that it was able to coast to a 76-47 triumph over Bishop Noll. Sophomore Lukas Balling paired a career-high 23 points with ten boards while three other Blazers finished in double figures inside Whiting Memorial Gymnasium.
Marquette’s defense was impeccable from the jump ball. Noll, which didn’t notch a field-goal attempt in the first four minutes, had to settle for lengthy passes around the perimeter while the Blazers seemed to line the arc with an invisible fence. Offensively, all five starters scored in the opening period. Balling had seven in the first quarter as Marquette outscored the Warriors, 19-2. Sophomore Connor Bakota provided the cherry on top of a most dominant quarter with a 38-footer at the buzzer.
Bishop Noll recorded its first basket of the evening at the 7:06 mark of the second stanza. Balling and Jason Kobe added five in the period while junior Brit Harris added a pair of buckets.
Marquette led 37-22 at halftime.
The Warriors assembled a charge in the third quarter, trimming the Blazer lead to 12. Kobe shifted the momentum back to Marquette with an acrobatic and-1 in the lane. He had 10 by the end of the third period. Balling tossed in another six to amend his total to 18 points.
Junior Kaden Manna registered eight of his 17 points in the final frame while Harris added another five to finish with 12. Kobe, who was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe, matched Harris with 12 points. Sophomore Gary Lewis chipped in seven in the win.
Marquette (15-9) moves on to meet host Whiting on Friday at 5 pm. Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate for $6. The winner will advance to Saturday’s Sectional 33 championship tilt set for Saturday evening at 7 pm.